Money & Markets

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May 3, 9:53 AM EDT

Profits sagged at Swiss bank UBS as clients held back


FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) -- Swiss bank UBS Group AG says first-quarter profits dropped as turbulent markets and global economic and political uncertainty deterred clients from doing business.

Shares in the bank fell 6.7 percent to 16.07 francs on Tuesday after it reported that net profit declined to 707 million francs ($749 million) from 1.98 billion francs in the year-earlier quarter.

UBS said market swings and geopolitical uncertainty resulted in "abnormally low transaction volumes."

Earnings were off despite a strong 29 billion franc inflow to its wealth management business serving rich individuals and families.

Europe's big banks have struggled with turbulent markets, new regulations aimed at preventing another financial crisis, and low or negative interest rates imposed by central banks.

UBS gave a cautious outlook Tuesday, warning that market and political fears "continue to contribute to client risk aversion and are unlikely to be resolved in the foreseeable future."

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