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The business week ahead

Business communities around the world will have an eye on events across the Atlantic this week with the election on Tuesday of a new United States President.

The Republican candidate, George W. Bush is regarded as the more corporate friendly candidate with his policy of huge tax cuts and fewer regulations on industry.

The vice-president and Democrat candidate, Al Gore, also favours tax cuts but on a smaller scale and is likely to be less amenable to the demands of the tobacco, pharmaceutical and oil companies. Expect shares in these sectors to soar on the back of a Bush victory and decline if Gore triumphs.

Closer to home, Tuesday sees the release of October's unemployment figures. September's rate was down to just 1.7 per cent.

Analysts say there is little scope for further decreases as Switzerland is almost at full employment. The danger for the economy now is that there are shortages of skilled labour in sectors such as information technology and telecommunications.

The Kuoni travel group will be the main focus of corporate news this week as it comes through with its third quarter figures.

This is particularly important for the travel industry as it sees a lot of holiday bookings for Christmas and the early part of the following year. For Kuoni, analysts will be focussing their attention on growth in the North American and British markets.

Turnover is expected to be up around 17 per cent, while net profit should be up around eight per cent.

Other companies reporting this week in Switzerland are Jomed and Straummann.

by Michael Hollingdale

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