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UBS cautious as losses stack up

Switzerland May 5 – Switzerland\’s biggest bank, UBS, confirmed it made a 2billion Swiss francs ($1.75bn; £1.2bn) loss during the January to March quarter.

UBS said the losses were driven by write-downs on risky investments.

But the loss was smaller than the 9.56billion Swiss francs it lost in the October to December quarter of 2008.

The bank said that markets had improved somewhat in the early months of this year but said the real economy had continued to deteriorate.

"The markets continue to be unsettled, and we remain cautious on the immediate outlook for UBS," the bank said.

The results confirmed figures released by the bank on 15 April, when it announced that 8,700 jobs would be cut.

UBS has been hit particularly hard by the credit crisis. Moreover, the bank is also being investigated by US over a possible tax fraud.

Last year, it received a government bail-out of 6bn Swiss francs and the Swiss central bank has agreed to absorb some of its toxic assets.

The bank\’s loss contrasts with the reviving fortunes of competitor Credit Suisse, which reported a net profit of 2bn Swiss francs for the January to March quarter.

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Meanwhile, troubled German lender Hypo Real Estate also reported a first quarter loss, but its performance was an improvement on the previous quarter.

It made a loss of 382m euros ($511m; £338m), blaming difficult market conditions.

However, this was far below the loss of 2.57bn euros it made in the the final three months of 2008.

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