'The weakest links are cracking': Investors consider possible Credit Suisse contagion

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Credit Suisse said Thursday that it would borrow up to 50 billion Swiss francs ($53.68 billion) from the Swiss central bank.
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Shares of Credit Suisse surged on Thursday, rebounding from a fresh all-time low after the beleaguered lender announced that it would tap central bank support to shore up its finances.

Switzerland's second-largest bank said it would borrow up to 50 billion Swiss francs ($53.68 billion) from the Swiss National Bank, providing a moment of relief for investors after the Zurich-headquartered firm led Europe's banking sector on a wild ride lower during the previous session.

The Swiss-listed stock price was trading around 24% higher at 11 a.m. London time (7 a.m. ET) — a massive swing from Wednesday's more than 30% tumble after its biggest backer said it wouldn't provide further assistance due to regulatory restrictions.

The abrupt loss of confidence in Credit Suisse, which came as fears about the health of the banking system spread from the U.S. to Europe, has prompted some to question the "true" worth of Credit Suisse's stock price.

"We have to step back and look of course at the viability of the business model [and] at the overall regulatory landscape," Beat Wittmann, chairman of Switzerland's Porta Advisors, told CNBC's "Squawk Box Europe" on Thursday.

"I think the leadership of the bank has to really use now this lifeline to review their plan because obviously, the capital markets have not bought the plan as we have seen by the performances of the equity price and the credit default swaps very recently."

Banks in crisis: The weakest links are cracking, says advisory firm
Banks in crisis: The weakest links are cracking, says advisory firm
Squawk Box Europe

Asked for his views on the sharp fall of Credit Suisse's share price — which fell below 2 Swiss francs for the first time on Wednesday — Wittmann said a "brutal" monetary tightening cycle led by major central banks in recent months meant companies vulnerable to shocks were now beginning to "really suffer."

"The weakest links are cracking and that's just happening, and that was entirely predictable — and this will not be the last one. Now it is really time for policymakers to restore confidence and liquidity in the system, be it in the U.S., be it in Switzerland, or be it somewhere else," Wittmann said.

Asked for his advice to investors amid the market turmoil, he said: "The upside momentum in inflation and interest rates is receding very clearly so I think there is a very healthy underpinning in capital markets."

"But I would very strongly recommend sticking to high-quality companies — that means strong management, strong balance sheets, strong value proposition. And now you can pick them up at more attractive valuations," Wittmann added.

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