Europe Top News and Analysis Switzerland

  • Richemont, the world's second-largest luxury goods group, narrowly missed forecasts on Wednesday with an 8 percent rise in third-quarter sales, and said demand "slowed somewhat" in Japan and the United States in December.

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    How avoiding a US recession may be a slippery slope, what a PricewatershouseCoopers survey says about CEO confidence and why one economist expects to be in big demand at Davos this year.

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    The World Economic Forum's annual meeting always has a grand theme, but last year's topic of a shifting power equation could serve just as well this year as China's representation increases. Now the question is whether the U.S. still calls the tune when it comes to economic direction.

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    Without a doubt, CNBC's coverage will be comprehensive. We'll be interviewing -- among many others -- attendees such as Henry Kissinger, Cerberus Chairman John Snow, Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain, BT CEO Ben Verwaayen, Barclays President Bob Diamond and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. But if time runs short and one of our anchors follows up with a question when the cameras have stoped rolling, or a reporter gets the inside word on a big deal, they'll be blogging about it here.

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    Davos sometimes gets dismissed as a talking shop which achieves few concrete results, but that is a misunderstanding of the event, usually spoken by people who have never attended.Davos' greatest coup is in gathering together individuals who have the ability to make meaningful decisions –- and then encouraging them to think freely and discuss their fears and hopes.

  • Barry Callebaut, the world's largest chocolate maker, posted a forecast-beating 22 percent rise in first-quarter sales on Tuesday, but warned margins could face pressure due to high raw material prices.

  • Roche Holding has overcome Ventana's resistance to its takeover bid by raising its price, acquiring the diagnostics maker for $3.4 billion to boost its cancer testing business.

  • UBS, the biggest European casualty of the U.S. subprime crisis, said it was shrinking its investment banking business, cutting staff and drastically downscaling its exposure to risky investments.

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    Swiss drug maker Novartis said Thursday its fourth-quarter profit fell sharply, mainly due to restructuring costs, but that it would increase returns to shareholders with a new buyback program and an increase to its dividend.

  • Swiss engineering group Sulzer posted a 24 percent rise in full-year order intake on Tuesday, boosted by demand in the oil and gas sector, but said the growth rate was likely to slow in 2008.

  • UBS, struck with billions of dollars of writedowns on subprime exposures, is trying to persuade investment bankers to stay with the company by allowing them to sell some of their share-based bonuses after just one year, the Financial Times reported.

  • Shares in Swiss-based computer peripherals maker Logitech International gained up to 12 percent on Thursday amid speculation Microsoft would launch a takeover bid, traders said.

  • Shares in Swiss bank Credit Suisse  fell by around 3 percent on Monday after a Swiss newspaper reported the bank faced writedowns in its commercial mortgage and leveraged-finance business.

  • Reinsurer Swiss Re said it is committed to the Financial Services unit that was the source of last month's large subprime writedown and said it was likely to speed up its share buyback program.

  • Novartis plans a restructuring that will result in job cuts and the removal of several layers of management, according to an interview with CEO Daniel Vasella in the Wall Street Journal Europe.

  • UBS revealed a $10 billion writedown and an emergency injection of funds from Singapore and the Middle East, making it the biggest victim of the U.S. subprime crisis to date among major European banks.

  • Sometimes weekend newspaper pickups go nowhere and sometimes you hit pay dirt. This morning, putting together "Squawk Box Europe", the team debated the merits of a story carried by the Swiss weekly the Sonntagszeitung. It said UBS management held an unscheduled board meeting at the weekend and could announce more sizeable writedowns.

  • Jamba said it is partnering with Nestle USA to sell bottled smoothies and juice drinks at U.S. grocery stores, sending the company's shares up 28 percent.

  • Insurer Swiss Life raised its targets on Tuesday, aiming to boost earnings per share by at least 12 percent annually, and said the credit crisis will not hit its results, lifting its shares.

  • Swiss Life advanced a sweeping restructuring on Monday, unveiling plans to buy German investment adviser AWD in an agreed deal valuing AWD at 1.16 billion euros ($1.71 billion).