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Economic news keeps Swiss market alert

Switzerland's largest Internet service provider, Blue Window, sees its customer base boom


In what was a shortened trading week, with markets closed across Europe on Thursday for the Ascension Day holiday, dealers were kept busy with a flurry of corporate and economic news.

Among the major stories:

- Switzerland's largest internet provider, Blue Window, continued to boom, with its customer base surging this year from 300,000 to 500,000.
- Construction in the Swiss housing sector rose seven per cent over the first quarter of 2000. The Federal Statistics Office reported that these figures show that the construction sector is now contributing to the upswing in the Swiss economy.
- In the first three months of 2000 the number of people in work in Switzerland rose by 1.4 per cent to 4 million.
- The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris issued a positive report on the Swiss economy, forecasting growth of 2.8 per cent for this year and 2.6 per cent in 2001.
- Swissair and its new transatlantic partner, American Airlines, launched a new flight from Zurich to Dallas/FortWorth, Texas.
- Swiss inflation rose 1.6 per cent in the year to May, compared to a 1.4 per cent increase in the year to April.
- SIG Swiss Industrial Company announced it expects an operating profit of SFr200 million in 2002. The packaging and arms group is currently restructuring, and plans to sell its arms division and refocus on packaging.
- Canada's Alcan upped its offer for Switzerland's Algroup, winning the backing of key shareholder, Swiss financier Martin Ebner. Alcan is offering 17.1 Alcan shares plus a total cash incentive of SFr225 for each Algroup share.

by Tom O'Brien

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