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SWITZERLAND DAYBOOK: SNB Rates, Earthquake Losses, Sonova Cut

Insurers and reinsurers will probably sustain losses of $12 billion to $25 billion tied to the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, according to catastrophe modeling firm Eqecat.

The estimate, disclosed late yesterday in a statement from Eqecat, falls short of a prediction of 1.2 trillion yen ($15 billion) to 2.8 trillion yen that rival modeler AIR Worldwide said would be borne by the industry on the quake alone.

EQUITIES: *Japan quake’s insured losses may reach $25 bln, Eqecat says *UBS to address concerns of inadequate Australia risk management *Sonova cut to ‘hold’ at Deutsche Bank, to ‘neutral’ at Credit Suisse *Novartis, Roche’s Xolair helps stop Asthma attacks in children *Swiss Prime Site full-year net rises 25% to SF235 mln *Austriamicrosystems sees no impact on deliveries from earthquake *Gategroup full-year profit increases 36% to SF50.7 mln *Swiss find price-fixing evidence in hearing aids, HZ reports *Berner Kantonalbank 2010 pretax profit SF159.9 mln *Axpo’s Karrer sees higher Swiss energy prices after Japan disaster, HZ says *Swissquote’s Buerki seeks more acquisitions, wants to gain EU banking license, HZ says *Evolva posts full-year net loss of SF23.3 mln vs SF9.6 mln

ECONOMY/POLITICS: *SNB keeps interest rate unchanged, says inflation outlook hasn't changed significantly *Switzerland’s government raised its economic growth forecast for this year to 2.1 percent vs. 1.5 percent.

MARKETS: *The SMI fell 1.3 percent to close at 6,021.55 *The SPI fell 1.4 percent to close at 5,466.82 *The Stoxx Europe 600 Index dropped 1.6 percent to 262.18 *The MSCI Asia-Pacific Index fell 0.5 percent to 128.30 at 7:35 a.m. Zurich time *Euro -- franc at 1.2585 at 7:17 a.m. Zurich time

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