Major layoffs were front-and-center today as Volkswagen and Rieter announced they have to reduce costs. Meanwhile, the private bank Edmond de Rothschild is preparing for a delisting and will go back completely into family hands. Finally, the SMI gained .60 percent and finished at 9,387.43.
Head of Swiss equities at Kepler Cheuvreux Jon Cox sees challenges ahead for Swatch Group in the second half of 2019 as competitors are offering more smart watches and a wider variety online. However, in Cox’s view, Swiss watch exports overall could pick up in the next months despite the protests in Hong Kong having an impact on luxury sales.
Divesting out of companies with ties to energy-intensive projects is not a panacea to climate change issues, UBS’s corporate responsibility management boss Christian Leitz says. His comments come after climate change activists staged a protest outside of UBS and Credit Suisse’s offices last week calling for the banks to stop financing companies involved in fossil fuel projects. Leitz adds: “It’s not that we can just jump out of certain sources of energy from today to tomorrow. There needs to be a clear transition.”
Crypto finance firm Bitcoin Suisse announced today that it has applied for a banking license. Chairman Niklas Nikolajsen says it would be “very surprising” and a “big blow” if they do not get the green light from FINMA. A license would allow the Zug company to hold deposits and deal with security tokens more effectively.
Personal wealth in Switzerland will likely grow by 3 percent this year on average, says Anna Zakrzewski, managing director of Boston Consulting Group. That assumes markets don’t take a nosedive as they did at the end of 2018 when a big chunk of the world’s wealth was wiped out in a few weeks.
Eugen Perger, senior analyst at Research Partners, sees strong tailwinds for Swiss power producers like BKW, Romande Energie, and Alpiq. In his view, larger producers should be profitable at current price levels, and considering that unfavorable hedging deals will expire next year, he says better results can be expected.
The Chief Digital Officer (CDO) is one of the newer titles in the C-Suite—and one of the least understood. Christian Wohlgensinger of management consultancy Egon Zehnder explains why a global survey of CDOs found that transforming companies was much more difficult than they expected.
According to Anja Graf, CEO and founder of Visionapartments, local knowledge is key for growing in a profitable way in real estate. This is one reason she does not see herself expanding to Asia despite strong growth signals in that region.
About 90 percent of Swiss SMEs don’t have a website adapted to mobile use and search engines, says Stefano Santinelli, CEO of Swisscom-owned localsearch, still best known by some as publisher of the big, bulky telephone book. Today, the company’s main source of revenue is helping these same small businesses build a savvier online presence, including access to e-commerce giants such as Amazon.
Earlier this month, European officials nominated Christine Lagarde as the next ECB president. Her support for greater European fiscal integration could pave the way for more mergers in the crowded banking industry, says Swisscanto’s Daniel Björk.
The S&P 500 hit the 3,000 mark for the first time ever on Wednesday after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell suggested before Congress that an interest rate cut may be forthcoming. But for Esty Dwek, senior investment strategist at Natixis Investment Managers, Powell didn’t emphasize the risks and uncertainties that lie ahead. In her view, the U.S. economy is facing not a recession, but a slowdown, and risks like a government shutdown haven’t been priced in by markets.
The Swiss stock exchange SIX has asked the Swiss National Bank to issue a digital coin backed by the Swiss franc. For Markus Will, senior economist at the University of St. Gallen, a national cryptocurrency makes sense considering the threat from Facebook’s Libra.
The Commercial Registry of Zug is now letting people pay their invoices in person using Bitcoin. Since November 2017, only 32 people have paid using crypto because the process has been too “laborious” and “awkward.”
Adecco shares tumbled more than 5 percent after Goldman Sachs downgraded the stock on weaker anticipated growth in Europe, its largest market. Peter Romanzina, head of brokerage at Vontobel Investment Bank, also sees slower sales ahead for the recruitment firm in Europe, where it has large exposure to the industrial sector.
AXA has turned to Swiss online service Silenccio for help protecting its 1.2 million clients against comments on social media that could damage its reputation. Dominique Kasper, AXA’s head of property and casualty in Switzerland, expects up to 200,000 clients will also buy cyber insurance in the next five to seven years.