ZURICH, Jan 11 (Reuters) - The Swiss blue-chip SMI was seen opening little changed at 9,525 points on Thursday, according to premarket indications by bank Julius Baer .
The following are some of the main factors expected to affect Swiss stocks:
Cartier maker Richemont said on Thursday solid sales growth in the quarter to Dec. 31 was driven by the Asia Pacific region and buoyant jewellery demand, kicking off the luxury goods reporting season on a positive note.
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Food giant Nestle plans to pick a buyer for its U.S. chocolate business by the end of this week, three sources close to the matter said on Wednesday, in a deal expected to top $2.5 billion. Italy’s Ferrero is seen as a front-runner, according to several other sources.
Swiss exchange SIX has opened an investigation into chemicals maker Clariant on account of a possible breach of the ad hoc disclosure requirements, SIX said on Thursday.
Swiss engineering group ABB will nominate three new members to its board at the upcoming annual general meeting. The board is nominating former Baidu CFO Jennifer Xin-Zhe Li, Royal DSM CFO Geraldine Matchett, and former Atlas Copco CEO Gunnar Brock to replace current members Ying Yeh and Louis R. Hughes.
Chinese bitcoin mining giant Bitmain Technologies is expanding to Switzerland in a move that will be key to widening its reach, the group told a Swiss newspaper.
EFG has appointed Christian Fleming as chief operating officer, as current COO Mark Bagnall becomes the group’s chief technology officer. Fleming was head of finance at Banco BTG Pactual. The private bank also said its head of strategy, Peter Fischer, would be stepping down.
* Partners Group expects strong client demand this year after it raised assets under management 14 percent to 62 billion euros in 2017.
* Ascom said it expects an EBITDA margin of about 14 percent for 2017 after net revenue grew around 3 percent according to preliminary unaudited results.
* Bossard saw sales rise 13.1 percent to 786.2 million Swiss francs in 2017, the group said, after sales in the last three months of the year rose 10.3 percent.
* SGS said it acquired Laboratoire de Contrôle et d’Analyse, a Belgian company that generated revenues of roughly 1 million euros in 2017.
$1 = 0.8370 euros Reporting by Zurich newsroom