Europe Top News and Analysis Switzerland

  • Swiss private bank Julius Baer beat expectations with a 31 percent rise in its 2007 net profit, saying its lack of exposure to the credit crisis was drawing in clients.

  • Full-year net profit at the world's biggest agrochemicals company, Syngenta, rose 75 percent to $1.11 billion, beating forecasts, as crop prices rose sharply amid raging demand for food and biofuel.

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    The main flu virus circulating in the United States and Canada has shown "elevated resistance" to the antiviral drug Tamiflu, in line with findings in parts of Europe, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Friday.

  • Switzerland's banking watchdog warned that the country's two largest banks UBS and Credit Suisse could face write-downs in assets beyond subprime, sending their shares spiraling lower.

  • European pharmaceutical Roche reported a better-than-expected 25 percent increase in fourth-quarter net profit Wednesday on strong sales of its cancer drugs, despite lower sales of its key influenza drug Tamiflu.

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    The collaboration theme here never really hung together for me. You can see the logic in people working together to solve the world’s problems, which is what WEF wants to do. But in the context of the market turmoil it seems like most people (well, banks anyway) just want to batten down the hatches and get through it.

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    It takes a lot of turn a ski resort into a world financial center. Most of Davos went smoothly, but other parts could use a little more 'collaborative innovation.' Here's some observations -- and funny moments -- of the meeting.

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    This year it is the news outside Davos that became the meat of conversations in corridors and at receptions. Is the US in recession? Will a $150-billion stimulus package of tax cuts prevent recession? Can Europe avoid a slowdown? Should my business be chasing more growth in emerging markets?

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    The European Central Bank president thought banks had learned their lesson after Barclays and Iraq is bullish on oil production.

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    Tony Blair and Bill Gates have been doing their best to bring the Davos agenda back to the longer-term issues of climate change and development, but let’s face it, in the current U.S. economic climate, the slowdown in the U.S. (not to mention the 'R' word) has dominated the talk here.

  • Crude oil and other commodities hit record highs last year, raising concerns about supply. Another precious resource -- water -- is also attracting attention and the subject made its way onto the agenda at Davos.

  • Top government and private-sector executive discussed derivatives and analyzed the recent financial crisis. ECB chief Trichet says turbulence won't dictate rates, JPMorgan Chase boss Jamie Dimon says such crises are cyclical, but nobody mentions the fraud at Societe Generale.

  • Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf.

    Keeping food and energy prices under control while presiding over a growing economy will be a key task for any government that emerges from the February elections, Finance Minister Salman Shah tells CNBC.com.

  • Brazil's government opposes a plan by mining giant Vale to buy Swiss-based rival Xstrata, a senior official said Thursday, pouring cold water on a deal that analysts said could top $100 billion in one of the biggest mergers ever.

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    There are whispers at the World Economic Forum that the search engine company is taking DNA samples at Davos' premier hotel.

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    The threats of terrorism and the reliance on the drug trade loom over Afghanistan daily, but as development of basic infrastructure progresses, Finance Minister Anwar ul-Haq Ahady says the government is hoping to lure investment in its natural resources.

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    A rolling of eyes and Gallic shrugs worthy of any Frenchman. That was the response on the ground in Davos as the news of Socgen's trading loss and sub-prime writedown unfolded.

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    When attendees from a sovereign wealth fund panel in Davos emerged, it wasn't about this topic, until yesterday so hot, that they spoke. Instead, they focused on the woes on Societe Generale, which reported this morning that a fraud by a trader would cost the group 4.9 billion euros ($7.16 billion).

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    The key to getting any real value out of the meeting is to look past the press releases, the pronouncements, the heart-tugging speeches, and the lofty, almost new age promises of the event's themes. The best takeaway may be to try and figure out those areas where participants seem to be in strong agreement, and then position portfolios for the opposite.

  • Lloyd Blankfein

    While a panel discusses the interdependence of world economies and a lesser reliance on the U.S. consumer to drive growth, the financial and investing gurus in the hall watch stocks tumble on the prospect of a U.S. recession.