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Credit Suisse boosts profits

media A shift towards wealth management from investment banking appears to be working for Credit Suisse AFP/File

Credit Suisse said Wednesday its first-quarter net profit rose by 8 percent, with its efforts to focus on wealth management helping balance out problems in investment banking.

The bank, which returned to the black last year for the first time since 2014, said net profit hit 749 million Swiss francs (654 million euros, $736 million) despite a "challenging environment".

Net revenues slid by 4 percent from the same quarter last year to 5.4 billion Swiss francs, but that was up more than 12 percent from the final three months of 2018.

Its investment banking and capital markets unit posted a pre-tax loss of $94 million, with revenues dropping by more than a third from the same quarter last year.

Its global markets also saw revenues slide by 10 percent.

But there were gains in the wealth management segment, which is Switzerland's second largest after UBS chose to make a greater focus in a vast overhaul launched in 2015.

Net revenue for the international wealth management unit hit a record for the quarter, as did pre-tax profit, which at 523 million Swiss francs was up 8 percent from the same period last year.

"It's been good news for Credit Suisse this morning," said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

"Having spent the last three years restructuring the business to focus on areas like wealth management and paring back the higher risk trading business, this focus appears to be reaping dividends."

Credit Suisse shares were up 2.4 percent in morning trading while the Swiss Market Index was up 0.4 percent overall.

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