Credit Suisse stock finds no buyers

Credit Suisse shares took a battering on the market on Friday

Shares in Credit Suisse were trading slightly lower on Monday after falling 25 per cent late last week.

This content was published on October 7, 2002 - 15:32

The slide was halted after investment bank, WestLB Panmure, said it had restored its "buy" rating, following last week's slump.

On Friday, shares in Switzerland's second largest banking group fell almost ten per cent to close at SFr21.80, extending Thursday's 14 per cent loss.

Investors feared that the bank would need to ask investors for capital to prop up its ailing insurance unit.

It was their lowest close in almost a decade.

Later rally

But shares did rally later in the day after Credit Suisse issued a statement saying "the group's present capital resources remain adequate capital increase of the group is planned."

Switzerland's banking regulator also weighed in saying that Credit Suisse met all regulatory capital standards.

"The bank meets all legal capital requirements, which already exceed the Bank for International Settlement's capital standards," Daniel Zuberbühler, director of the Federal Banking Commission told the news agency Reuters.

However some analysts say the Credit Suisse group's market capitalisation of 30 billion francs is below what its banking franchise group alone is worth. Therefore the loss-making insurance arm would take the market cap way into the red.

Even if this is the case, some observers said the market had over-reacted on Friday.

"There is panic selling, but the bank is not in distress at all," said Jacques-Henri Gaulard, an analyst at Merrill Lynch.

Credit rating

Early this week, the rating agency Standard and Poor's warned that it may downgrade Credit Suisse's credit rating after the bank injected SFr2 billion into its insurance arm, Winterthur.

Institutional investors have dumped large amounts of Credit Suisse shares, adding further pressure to the stock, which has already lost two-thirds of its market capitalisation this year.

Most analysts are predicting a third quarter net loss of at least a billion francs, adding to the second quarter loss of SFr579 million.

Last month, the bank's Chairman and CEO, Lukas Mühlemann - who pushed the purchase of Winterthur in 1997 - stepped down.

Mühlemann will be succeeded by two co-CEOs, Oswald Gruebel and John Mack, both of the Credit Suisse Group. The move has worried analysts who have said the men may be too strong-headed to make the unusual structure work.

swissinfo with agencies

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