Credit Suisse

(CSR)

on Friday predicted that its problem-child U.S. investment banking unit, CSFB, will turn a fairly good-sized profit in the first quarter.

The Swiss banking giant said CSFB will probably earn $160 million in the quarter, and earn $290 million before amortization expenses. The parent, which posted a stiff loss in 2002 thanks in part to litigation expenses at CSFB, expects to earn about $478 million in the first quarter.

In a release, the company said CSFB's institutional securities unit had significantly improved results compared with a year ago, reflecting strong bond markets and a lower credit provision.