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European bourses were hit on Monday by a bad case of the jitters, as dealers were left reeling from Wall Street's biggest one day point loss the previous Friday. The main casualty was high-tech stocks.

European bourses were hit on Monday by a bad case of the jitters, as dealers were left reeling from Wall Street's biggest one day point loss the previous Friday. The main casualty was high-tech stocks.

Seen by many analysts as overvalued, new economy stocks have been suffering heavily in the recent sell-off. However this has worked in the Swiss market's favour.

The stock market in Switzerland is much more biased towards old economy, traditional industries, which means the bourse in Zurich is less likely to suffer to the extent seen on the New York Stock Exchange.

This is the main reason why, despite the sell-off on Monday, the Swiss stock market managed to end the week only one per cent lower than the previous week, in what was thin pre-holiday trading.

Among the other major business stories of the week :

- Zurich Financial Services announced plans to simplify its share structure, creating a single share structure for the Anglo-Swiss group.

- Retailer Co-op announced a 30 per cent increase in profits over 1999, coming in at SFr235 million.

- Co-op also announced plans to create a new chain of drug stores in a joint venture with Galenica. The stores will be called Co-op Vitality and should employ around 300 staff.

- Chemicals group Clariant reported a 20 per cent increase in first quarter sales at SFr2.6 billion.

- Sulzer saw its first quarter orders jump five per cent at SFr1.5 billion.

- The Lausanne-based international advertising group PubliGroupe revealed a doubling in profits to SFr156 million.

- Danish drinks group Carlsberg expressed an interest in purchasing the drinks division of Switzerland's largest brewer Feldschloesschen-Huerlimann.

by Tom O'Brien.

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