ZURICH, March 7 (Reuters) - Swiss stocks were expected to open slightly lower on Thursday, while European markets were seen inching higher although gains could be limited ahead of rate decisions and statements by the Bank of England and the European Central Bank.
The Swiss blue-chip SMI was seen falling 0.4 percent, according to premarket indications from bank Julius Baer.
The following are some of the main factors expected to affect Swiss stocks on Thursday:
Britain’s health cost-effectiveness watchdog NICE said it planned to recommend the use of Novartis’s severe asthma drug Xolair after prevaricating for months over whether it should be paid for on the taxpayer-funded National Health Service (NHS).
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* Basilea’s board proposes Martin Nicklasson to succeed Chairman Werner Henrich and recommends to shareholders that they do not support the request for a capital distribution at this time.
* Acino said net profit rose 65 percent to 9.4 million euros in 2012 after it acquired businesses from Mepha/Cephalon. It expects sales to exceed 300 million euros and EBITDA to markedly improve compared with 2012.
* LLB said it nominated Patrizia Holenstein and Peter Fanconi to its board of directors.
* Swisslog said net profit fell to 7.8 million Swiss francs in 2012, hit by restructuring expenses. The group expects stable net sales for 2013, along with an increased EBIT margin of between 4-4.5 percent.
* Tecan’s OEM partner Dako unveils new platform at global congress.
* SNB will publish foreign exchange reserves at the end of February at 0800 GMT.
* The Swiss unemployment rate was stable at a non-seasonally adjusted 3.4 percent in February, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs said on Thursday.
* The Swiss National Bank confirmed on Thursday it posted a profit in 2012 due to gains in its gold holdings and profit on the huge foreign currency positions it has accumulated to keep a lid on the strong franc.