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Profits fears hammer Swiss tech stocks

Swiss investors have dumped technology stocks amid global jitters over a worse-than-expected sales warning by giant US chipmaker, Intel.

Friday morning trading on the Swiss stock exchange saw several high-tech firms hammered, including stocks of the troubled telecommunications firm, Ascom, which hit a record low.

Having already shed two-thirds of their value since the start of the year, stocks in the Bern-based firm were pushed down a further 15 per cent to SFr10.80 ($6.94).

Christoph Gubler, an analyst for Lombard Odier, said there had been no new developments at Ascom to account for the fall, and that the shift had been fuelled by general weakness in the IT and telecommunications sectors.

Shares in digital broadcast technology firm Kudelski also shed 4.4 per cent to SFr66 on the Swiss bourse.

Intel drives markets to Sept 11 levels

The weakness, combined with losses in Switzerland's insurance sector, saw the country's Swiss Market Index shed 2.13 per cent, breaking through the psychologically significant 6,300-point barrier to 6,229.

Many of the losses were driven by Intel's warning on Thursday that sales would be lower than expected, as well as troubled investor sentiment about accounting and political uncertainty between India and Pakistan.

Switzerland's markets reflected a decline in technology stocks throughout Europe.

The benchmark Dow Jones European Technology Index was down 5.54 per cent to 248.87 points on Friday morning, near levels last seen after the September 11 attacks.

Europe's four biggest chip stocks, Infineon, ST, Philips, and ASML all lost between five and seven per cent.

swissinfo with agencies

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