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Credit Suisse shares slump as traders gauge outlook for embattled lender

Published 03/17/2023, 04:58 AM
Updated 03/17/2023, 05:10 AM
© Reuters.

By Scott Kanowsky -- Shares in Credit Suisse Group AG (SIX:CSGN) fell on Friday, putting the lender on course for its worst weekly drop in three years, as investors eyed its future after the Swiss National Bank offered a liquidity lifeline.

The move comes after Bloomberg reported that Credit Suisse and larger rival UBS Group AG (SIX:UBSG) are opposed to a potential forced merger. The report said UBS is more focused on its wealth management business and not keen to assume risks related to Credit Suisse.

Neither bank responded to a request for comment from Reuters.

UBS shares were marginally in the green, paring back some initial gains, in late-morning trading on Friday.

Meanwhile, in an interview late on Thursday, Andre Helfenstein, chief executive officer of Credit Suisse's Swiss bank, told broadcaster SRF that the more than $50 billion in funding from Swiss regulators represents "precautionary liquidity" that will allow the company to continue carrying out its restructuring plans and "work well in this turbulent situation."

Helfenstein added that Credit Suisse is working to stem customer outflows, but noted that the fix is "not something that happens overnight."

On Wednesday, the Zurich-based bank's stock slipped by around 25% after top shareholder Saudi National Bank said it would not be injecting further capital. The decline sparked concerns over contagion across the European banking system in a week already marked by the knock-on effects of the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. These worries were slightly mollified when authorities in Switzerland stepped in with a financial backstop for Credit Suisse.

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