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UBS Sells Assets

UBS isn't waiting for the bailout to pass. It's found a way to move some of its commercial and residential mortgage assets. Terms were not disclosed so there's no way to know how much the bank marked down its assets or who bought them. But perhaps some of the vulture funds we've been hearing about were involved.

Shares of UBS soared 10.5%, or 2.06 Swiss francs ($1.81), to 21.76 Swiss francs ($19.21) on Thursday afternoon in Zurich, after the Swiss bank said it had "substantially reduced" its U.S. commercial and residential mortgage-related assets, mainly through disposals. A spokeswoman for UBS declined to value the size of the disposal or say where the toxic assets had gone.

UBS's comments on Thursday suggest it could have disposed of up to 10.0 billion Swiss francs ($8.8 billion) of its toxic assets, said Jean Sassus, an analyst at Raymond James Equities in Paris. "This shows that there are buyers out there who we didn't know about before, which is good news for everyone," he said.

UBS declined to say whether the assets were going into government or private hands, but Sassus said the most likely situation was that a club of investors, possibly distressed debt funds, had snapped them up.

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