Mar 17, 2023
First Republic Shares Resume Slide as Investors Assess Aid
(Bloomberg) -- First Republic Bank shares tumbled again on Friday, closing out their worst week ever, as sentiment around the lender remained fragile even after a $30 billion cash injection from Wall Street’s biggest banks.
Shares of First Republic sank 33% to finish at their lowest level since October 2011, brining losses for the week to a record 72%. The drop comes after the bank reported that its borrowings from the US Federal Reserve varied from $20 billion to $109 billion from March 10 to March 15, said it was suspending dividend payments and disclosed a dwindling cash position.
“We find it difficult to come up with a realistic scenario where there’s residual value for First Republic common equity holders,” Wedbush analyst David Chiaverini wrote in a note to clients. Chiaverini downgraded the stock to neutral, cutting his price target to $5 from $140.
Read more: First Republic’s $30 Billion Rescue Fails to Mollify Investors
Atlantic Equities John Heagerty also downgraded First Republic to neutral citing “unprecedented uncertainty” surrounding the California lender. He said a return to prior leverage ratios for the bank “may well necessitate a capital raise.”
The renewed selling pressure follows a volatile session on Thursday, when the stock plunged as much as 36% before ending the day with a 10% gain after the biggest banks on Wall Street, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co., pledged $30 billion of fresh cash for the lender.
Other regional banks also dropped on Friday, with PacWest Bancorp falling 19% to its lowest price ever, Western Alliance Bancorp dropping 15% and KeyCorp slipping 6%. Meanwhile, the SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF extended its two-week selloff to 28%.
Larger banks joined in the rout, with Bank of America Corp dropping 4%, while Goldman Sachs Group Inc. fell 3.7% and Wells Fargo & Co. lost 3.9%. The KBW Bank Index fell 5.3%, bringing its losses for the last two weeks to 28%, its worst such stretch since February 2009. Roughly $300 billion in market value has been wiped from the banking gauge over that span.
Read more: JPMorgan Analyst Keeps First Republic as Top Pick After Rout
Some investors questioned the move to aid First Republic. Pershing Square’s Bill Ackman for instance, said in a tweet that spreading the risk of financial contagion to achieve “a false sense of confidence” in the lender was “bad policy.”
First Republic’s shares have been hit hard by the turmoil in the banking sector, after the demise of three lenders knocked confidence in the industry and saw customers of regional lenders pull deposits. Silicon Valley Bank’s former parent company filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy on Friday. A meltdown in Credit Suisse Group AG’s shares on worries over the bank’s financial health further dampened sentiment.
(Updates with stock moves throughout.)
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