Swiss and Chinese Move Towards Free Trade Deal:
Economics Minister Doris Leuthard has signed a joint declaration with Chinese Commerce Minister Bo Xilai aimed at establishing a free trade accord. Both countries have also agreed to set up bilateral working groups to promote investment and bolster the protection of intellectual property rights, according to a statement by the economics ministry. As part of the deal, Switzerland recognized China as a market economy - a key buffer against trade disputes between the two countries over the price applied to Chinese goods. Leuthard said it was an important signal for China - a member of the World Trade Organization - to be given this status. She said the European Union had not yet done so. In return China agreed to launch an internal feasibility study to examine the possibility of a free trade agreement with Switzerland.
Roche In Deal To Gain Promising RNA Technology:
Roche may pay up to $1 billion for the rights to Alnylam Pharmaceuticals’ gene-blocking science, intensifying a race to develop medicines based on the new technology. Alnylam shares jumped as much as 59 percent. Roche, the world’s largest maker of cancer medicines, said it would pay Alnylam $288.5 million up front and buy a 5 percent stake in Alnylam, a biotechnology company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for $42.5 million. The pair will work on cancer, liver and respiratory treatments. Roche and Alnylam said they expect to complete the transaction within 30 days, subject to regulatory approvals. The deal may be worth more than $1 billion when royalties, upfront payments and compensation for achieved goals are included.
Source: International Herald Tribune
Swiss Approve Cancer Vaccine Made By Northwest Biotherapeutics:
Northwest Biotherapeutics Inc., a Bothell-based biotechnology company, won Swiss approval for its brain-cancer treatment, the first vaccine to harness a patient’s immune system to fight the disease. The product will be produced in the U.S., and made available to patients at treatment centers in Switzerland, Northwest Biotherapeutics said Monday in a prepared statement. The company is working to win approval in the U.S. and Europe to gain access to the $35 billion market for cancer treatments. In clinical trials, patients treated with DCVax-Brain survived twice as long as those who didn’t receive the vaccine, without major side effects, the company said.
The US dollar fell against all its counterparts including the Swiss franc on concerns over the US housing slowdown as Home Depot reduced its earnings forecasts. As of 12:30 EST, the USDCHF pair was trading at 1.2068. The Swiss Franc edged down against its British counterpart as well during the Asian session; however, it bounced back completely within two hours and steadied further. This came ahead of the release of the British trade balance for May. Furthermore, a move towards risk aversion helped slow down carry trades, giving a boost to both the franc and the yen.
Equity Market: Swiss Market Index:
Shares tumbled today mainly due to the fall in the futures of US markets as Home Depot, the world?s largest home improvement retailer, cut down forecast of its earnings, signaling a further slowdown in the US housing market. The Swiss Market Index closed down 48.05 points resting at 9248.38. Banks were amongst the biggest losers, with UBS down 1.9 percent at 73.25, and Credit Suisse off 1.5 percent at 88. Nestle outperformed, adding 1.1 percent to 477.75 amid rumors that the Swiss food giant may sell its 75 percent stake in eye care company Alcon Inc. The stock was further pushed by Danone’s 12.3 billion euro takeover offer for Numico NV, which highlights the sound strategy as well as the favorable price of Nestlé?s Gerber acquisition. Pharmaceuticals were lower, with Novartis off 0.25 at 67 and Roche down 1.70 at 217.60 as investors shrugged off news that its arthritis drug, Actemra, was successful in a phase III study with difficult-to-treat rheumatoid arthritis.
Fixed-Income Market: 10-Year Swiss Government Bonds:
Swiss bonds saw a steep gain today, ending a five day losing streak and pushing yields down almost 4 basis points to close at 3.339 percent.