MUFG’s Profit Climbs 48%

Japan 's biggest bank Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) said on Friday its net profit soared 48 percent in the fiscal first quarter from a year earlier to 75.94 billion yen (800 million dollars).

The company, which owns a chunk of troubled Wall Street titan Morgan Stanley, returned to profit after ending the last financial year to March in the red to the tune of 256.95 billion yen, AFP reports.

“Mitsubishi UFJ has the best asset quality of the big banks,” Ismael Pili, a Tokyo-based analyst at Macquarie Group Ltd., said before today’s announcement. “If the banks decide to crank up equity gains or come in with lower provisions, we see scope for higher profits.”

Mitsubishi UFJ’s shares rose 4.4 percent before today’s announcement, extending their gain to 3.1 percent in 2009, Bloomberg reports.

Meanwhile, analysts say the worst could be over for most Japanese big banks, which have largely been helped by a stock market rebound and government stimulus to limit a surge in bankruptcies.

One exception has been Mizuho Financial Group (8411.T), however. Earlier on Friday Japan's second-largest bank posted its fourth straight quarter in the red, Reuters reports.

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