Banking & Finance

Analysts More Cautious on European Banks With Downgrades

Most U.S. investors tend to focus on U.S. equities and issues. The larger picture in the financial sector and in the financial markets requires a full global view. Investors have to remember that some of the European and international banks are actually among the widest reaching and largest by assets and deposits of all the banks in the world. That means that bank analyst calls overseas may matter more than other sector calls from American depositary shares (ADSs).

Tuesday was a day marred by terrorist attacks in Belgium. The markets traded lower as a result. This may have been compounded in the banking sector as several of Europe’s key banks were downgraded. Firms making the downgrades or price target cuts were HSBC, Goldman Sachs and Investec.

24/7 Wall St. used the local pricing in pence, euro and Swiss francs for the relative price targets on the local exchanges. We then showed how each bank’s ADSs were trading in New York relative to their 52-week trading range.

Barclays PLC (NYSE: BCS) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at HSBC Securities. Its local price target in London was cut to 190p from 230p, versus a prior close of 160.50, implying that there is still upside if the price target holds up. Goldman Sachs also lowered its price target to 265p from 310p. In New York trading on Tuesday, Barclays was down almost 4.1% to $8.96, in a 52-week range of $8.52 to $18.05.

Credit Suisse Group A.G. (NYSE: CS) was maintained as Buy at Goldman Sachs, but the firm did remove it from the prized Conviction Buy list. Credit Suisse was last seen down 1.7% at $14.79 in New York trading. Its 52-week range is $12.56 to $29.99.

Deutsche Bank A.G.

(NYSE: DB) was maintained as Buy at Goldman Sachs, but the firm cut its target price to €25 from €27.20, still implying good upside to the €16.92 close before the call. The ADSs were last seen down 2.2% at $18.65 Tuesday morning in New York trading. Its 52-week range is $14.78 to $36.21.

HSBC Holdings PLC (NYSE: HSBC) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Investec. HSBC’s price target in London was lowered to 455p, just above the prior 449p close. In New York it was trading down 1.7% at $32.00 on Tuesday, within a 52-week range of $30.13 to $50.26.

UBS A.G. (NYSE: UBS) saw its local trading targets in Switzerland (Swiss franc) cut to 19.60 from 20.90 by Goldman Sachs. Its prior close in local trading was 16.39 (SFr), so this call still leaves some implied upside as well. In New York trading on Tuesday, UBS was down only 0.4% at $16.82, in a 52-week range of $14.01 to $23.19.

As of 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time, the S&P 500 was down only about 1.50 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down only about 30 points. The U.S. financial sector was down as well, with most money center banks down 0.5% on average. These downgrades were so far much more influential on the European banks than they were on the U.S. banks.

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