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The Business Week Ahead

Apart from the expansion of the Swiss Market Index (see top story), it looks like being a quiet business week in Switzerland - some half-yearly results are due, along with the latest unemployment figures.

Esec's first half figures are eagerly awaited. The company makes assembly equipment for the semi-conductor industry. It recently said it expected strong growth this year despite the revenue warning issued by the US microchip maker, Intel.Analysts will be looking for an increase in earnings of around 50 per cent.

The stock, however, is expected to continue to consolidate around the SFr600 to SFr800 level.

The textile machinery group, Saurer, also comes through with its first half figures this week. It's been a difficult period for the sector which was badly hit by the Asian financial crisis two years ago.

Analysts will have their eyes as much on the order intake figures as those for income.

In other economic news, Friday sees the release of the latest unemployment figures. August's rate was just 1.8 per cent and it will be interesting to see if the jobless figure can now fall any further.

Other data expected this week are the retail sales figures on Tuesday and the consumer price index on Wednesday.

by Michael Hollingdale

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