Stronger markets boost earnings at Swiss bank Credit Suisse

AP News
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Posted: Apr 21, 2015 3:26 AM

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Buoyant financial markets helped Credit Suisse Group AG overcome the impact of a surging Swiss franc to post a solid 23 percent increase in first quarter profit.

The bank said Tuesday that it made 1.054 billion Swiss francs ($1.13 billion) in the first quarter, ahead of the consensus of analysts' expectations at around 1.03 billion francs.

CEO Brady W. Dougan said earnings were boosted by stronger results at the bank's wealth management division and by improved market activity. The bank saw stronger income from trading stocks and bonds thanks to increasing market volatility.

Those trends helped overcome headwinds from the sudden rise in the Swiss franc in January. Buoyant stock markets have also helped earnings at U.S. banks that have reported earnings in recent days.

The franc rose suddenly in January when the Swiss central bank abandoned its cap on the currency's exchange rate. Swiss banks such as Credit Suisse have much of their costs in francs but earn revenues and hold investments in other currencies that suddenly became worth less against the franc. Low interest rates — in some cases, negative rates on funds deposited at central banks — have also squeezed bank earnings.

Dougan said in a statement that "our swift and proactive response to the changed curency and interest rate environment post the Swiss National Bank's announcement, combined with an improvement in market activity, mitigated the impact on our results and led to higher revenues in our wealth management clients business."