UPDATE 1-Credit Suisse sees markets steadying in early 2019

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FILE PHOTO: Switzerland’s national flag flies next to the logo of Swiss bank Credit Suisse at a branch office in Luzern, Switzerland October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

ZURICH (Reuters) – Credit Suisse sees markets starting to steady, Switzerland’s second-biggest bank said on Thursday as it reported its first annual profit since 2014.

“In the fourth quarter of 2018, we experienced widespread volatility and lower activity levels across the market. This has improved so far this year, with signs of normalization in the first six weeks of 2019, leading to a less negative trading environment than in the fourth quarter but still weaker than in the first quarter of 2018,” it said.

Assets under management recovered during the month of January and are now back to November levels, it said.

“However, concerns over a U.S. government shutdown, the U.S.-China trade dispute and Brexit remain. This has resulted in a very slow start to the year in terms of Street fees across debt and equity products,” it said, seeing a “significant degree

of uncertainty” on how things would play out.

The bank posted a 2.057 billion Swiss franc ($2.04 billion) net profit for 2018, wrapping up a three-year overhaul with its first annual profit since 2014.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected Switzerland’s second-biggest bank to bring in 1.968 billion francs on the bottom line and to increase its pre-tax profit by nearly 76 percent to 3.15 billion francs. Pre-tax income rose to 3.405 billion francs for the year.

“With lower costs, lower risks and more capital than at the start of our restructuring in 2015, we believe that the bank is now well positioned to withstand challenging market conditions when they arise, to capitalize on positive trends in the world economy and to grow revenue and profits, by meeting our clients’ needs,” Chief Executive Tidjane Thiam said in a statement.

Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi; Editing by Michael Shields

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