THE WEEK IN REVIEW

It was a week of shocks and surprises on the financial front and the country's biggest telecommunications company celebrated some impressive figures.

This content was published on March 24, 2000 - 19:48

It was a week of shocks and surprises on the financial front and the country's biggest telecommunications company celebrated some impressive figures. Some of the main stories of the week were:

* Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels announced the merger of their Bourses creating Euroland's biggest financial trading centre. London remains Europe's largest stock exchange overall.

* The Swiss National Bank surprised analysts with an unusually aggressive interest rate rise. It increased its three month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) by 75 points to 2.5 to 3.5 per cent. It is aiming for the middle of the new range.

* Switzerland's trade surplus was SFr165 million in February, overturning January's SFr35 million deficit. The Federal Customs Office said growth rates for both imports and exports were sparkling.

* Swisscom released its results showing net income increased by a staggering 54 per cent at SFr2.4 billion. But lower call rates pulled operating income down one per cent to SFr 4.4 billion.

* Specialty chemicals group, Clariant, announced a seven per cent increase in net profits for 1999. The figure of SFr553 was a little above expectations.

* Food group, Nestlé, and its French competitor, Danone, announced the formation of a European electronic market place for procurement in the consumer goods sector.

*Banking giant, UBS, is proposing a two for one share split ahead of its planned listing on the New York stock exchange. The plan needs shareholder approval at the group's Annual General Meeting next month.

By Michael Hollingdale

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