Virt-x seeks to expand business

virt-x expands business from Monday

After its successful launch last week, virt-x steps up a gear on Monday when it begins trading in blue chips listed on the Euro stoxx index.

This content was published on June 29, 2001 minutes

Virt-x, created through the merger of The Swiss Exchange's blue chip members and the British electronic trading platform, Tradepoint, is breaking the industry mould by offering cheap cross-border share trading.

Virt-x operates under British financial regulations and it's the first time that a country has allowed its blue chips to migrate abroad. The move is part of the consolidation process that will see national exchanges disappear, to be replaced by two or three major trading centres.

By offering the first pan-European service, virt-x hopes to use its state-of-the art technology to get an edge over its rivals and capture 10 per cent of European blue chip volume within a year.

Phonak is the latest in a string of companies to hold its annual general meeting this week.

The company has enjoyed extraordinary growth in the last year, mainly on sales of its new digital hearing device, Claro. But two weeks ago it said growth would be slower this year at 15 to 20 per cent.

This injected a note of reality into the share price which has now fallen by about 10 per cent since the beginning of the year. The equity gained 146 per cent last year so long-term shareholders shouldn't be too worried.

It appears the company is now in a period of consolidation before looking at further growth prospects.

Unemployment figures for June are released next Friday. The jobless rate, at 1.7 per cent, fell to its lowest level in around a decade last month, but growing signs that the economy is slackening off slightly could see the rate climbing slightly.

On the markets, currency traders will be keeping an eye on any movement at the Swiss National Bank for signs of an imminent interest rate cut.

The US Federal Reserve's recent cut has increased pressure on the European Central Bank and Switzerland to follow suit.

The franc gained ground against the dollar last week after the Fed's move but soon gave up its advances. The dollar is now once again testing the SFr1.80 level.

by Michael Hollingdale

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