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By Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi
ZURICH, April 24 (Reuters) - Credit Suisse boosted first-quarter net profit nearly 8 percent to 749 million Swiss francs ($734 million) as larger-than-expected wealth management gains offset investment banking declines.
Analysts polled by Infront Data had expected Switzerland's second-biggest bank to bring in 692 million francs on the bottom line.
A pre-tax profit rise to 1.06 billion francs from 1.05 billion a year ago beat expectations for a 5.9 percent fall.
The bank confirmed its full-year guidance and said it was cautiously optimistic about the second quarter following a challenging start to the year.
"In a challenging quarter, which was the first after the end of our three-year restructuring, we achieved our fifth consecutive quarter of positive income," Chief Executive Tidjane Thiam said in a statement.
Credit Suisse in 2018 wrapped up a three-year overhaul with its first annual profit since 2014, having shrunk its investment bank while narrowing its focus on its services catering to the world's wealthy.
While its investment banking and capital markets business reported a $94 million pre-tax loss for the quarter, its global markets business managed to overshoot profitability targets in a very tough trading quarter as it cut costs and said a partnership with its private banking business boosted trading.
Reaching the group's profitability target for 10-11 percent return on tangible equity (RoTE) this year will require it to nearly double net profit over the course of 2019.
It hit 8 percent RoTE over the first quarter.
$1 = 1.0199 Swiss francs Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi; Editing by Michael Shields