Pressure on beleaguered Swiss bank UBS to break up intensified as activist investor and former chief executive Luqman Arnold demanded to meet UBS' board and shake up its governance and structure.
Swiss agrochemicals group Syngenta raised its earnings outlook on Thursday, cashing in on roaring demand for farm goods and saying first-quarter sales had leapt 20 percent.
Asia will contribute about 20 percent of Swiss Re's global revenues within three to five years, up from 11 percent now, a senior executive at the world's largest reinsurer said on Wednesday.
UBS doubled its writedowns from the subprime crisis on Tuesday, dumped its chairman and sought more emergency capital in a second attempt to reverse its fortunes.
Worries mounted in the market that UBS would unveil more losses this week after the Swiss bank said at the weekend it had begun lowering the value of some structured securities held by clients.
Life insurer Swiss Life's 2007 net profit beat expectations and it promised shareholders a fat pay-out after a major overhaul of its business, sending its shares soaring.
The central banks of Britain and Switzerland added extra funds to ease pressure on high interbank lending rates on Thursday, while the European Central Bank said it was ready to step in with extra cash.
Shares in Anglo-Swiss miner Xstrata tumbled on Wednesday after the collapse of talks with Brazil's Vale to buy the company and forge a massive mining group.
All the excitement in the United States this week may have distracted investors from the global investment scene. Five-star fund co-manager Wendy Trevisani suggests that would be a mistake, and she has some prominent international names to prove it.
Marcel Ospel, the embattled chairman of UBS, took a 90 percent pay cut in 2007 after the Swiss bank chalked up a $18 billion in writedowns and warned that it still held billions more in at-risk investments.
Swiss bank UBS poured cold water on speculation it planned to sell major business units to raise cash but failed to stem a loss of confidence as investors drove its shares down 13 percent on fears of financial contagion.
Swiss bank UBS, another bank suffering from the credit crunch, recently shopped its PaineWebber brokerage unit in an effort to drum up cash but failed to find the right buyer, CNBC has learned.
Watchmaker Swatch Group gave an upbeat outlook for 2008 on Friday, helped by the Olympic Games, despite headwinds from currency swings and soaring raw material prices.
Nestle, the world's largest food company, raised its growth outlook in a surprise statement on Thursday, saying it expected underlying sales to rise about 7.4 percent in 2008 after a strong start to the year.
Economic losses from natural and man-made catastrophes in 2007 were more than $70 billion, with insurers hit by claims amounting to $28 billion, according to research released on Tuesday by Swiss Re, the world's largest reinsurer.
Swiss wealth manager EFG International said on Friday a U.S. municipal bond fund it was distributing had to be liquidated, sending its shares sharply lower.
Swiss bank UBS came under renewed pressure on Thursday due to speculation it had sold a huge portfolio of risky mortgages at a deep discount and that the scale of its subprime losses was rapidly mounting.
Recruitment firm Adecco's fourth-quarter net profit fell 29 percent but the decline was less than analysts' expectations, and the Swiss-based staffing company said it sees good growth rates in Europe.
Miner Xstrata posted a 13 percent rise in annual net profit on Monday on strong output, but gave little detail about ongoing talks regarding a possible takeover by Brazil's Vale.
Swiss Re, the world's biggest reinsurer, made better than expected 2007 net profit, as it escaped further subprime writedowns in the fourth quarter, and gave a confident earnings outlook.