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UBS cautious over outlook

UBS AG reported a first-quarter net loss of 1.98 billion Swiss francs (US$1.73 billion) yesterday, confirming a warning given last month, and said it remains cautious about its outlook as loan losses are expected to mount amid the economic downturn.

UBS, which replaced its CEO, chairman and several other senior officials after record losses of some 21 billion francs last year, also said customer withdrawals continued in the first quarter. The Swiss bank has been hit hard by the financial crisis and a United States legal probe into its offshore dealings with American clients.

Net loss per share was 0.57 franc versus a loss of 5.27 francs per share - or 11.62 billion francs overall - during the same period last year.

UBS said its investment banking unit recorded a pretax loss of 3.16 billion francs, while its wealth management and Swiss bank unit saw a pretax profit of 1.08 billion francs. The wealth management Americas unit recorded a loss of 35 million francs.

Global asset management made a pretax loss of 59 million francs, blamed on charges related to the sale of its Brazilian unit UBS Pactual.

The bank disclosed that its corporate center recorded a pretax profit of 621 million francs for the quarter, which it attributed to the purchase of toxic assets by the Swiss National Bank.


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