Bank stocks are rebounding from their lows after reports that major banks are coming to the rescue of First Republic

Traders gather at the post where First Republic Bank trades on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on March 15, 2023 in New York City.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

shares of First Republic and several other regional banks trimmed earlier losses on Thursday after the Wall Street Journal reported that some big banks were in talks to help the ailing regional bank.

First Republic shares fell 20.5% before being paused on volatility. PacWest And Western Alliance were also off their daily lows. The SPDR S&P Regional Bank ETF (KRE) decreased by less than 1%.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley were among banks considering a cash injection to strengthen First Republic.

The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank last Friday has prompted investors to scramble to identify other regional banks that have similar balance sheet problems, namely high rates of uninsured deposits and long-dated bonds or loans.

First Republic had the third-highest rate of uninsured deposits among US banks, behind SVB and Signature Bank, which regulators shut down over the weekend, according to a statement from Raymond James. First Republic stock was down almost 75% in March at the close on Wednesday, and the bank’s debt was downgraded by S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings.

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First Republic’s stock has been under pressure since the collapse of SVB.

thursday earlier, Bloomberg News reported that the bank is evaluating its options to stabilize, including a potential sale. However, a pressured sale may not be a big deal for shareholders, according to KBW analyst Christopher McGratty.

“Following the sharp fall in the stock following the failure of the SIVB (deposit outflows/liquidity concerns), FRC is admittedly in a challenging position. Any potential sale would likely be a difficult outcome for existing shareholders,” McGratty said in a note to clients.

Fighting for regional bank stocks continued despite the announcement of additional support from US regulators over the weekend. These included a new Federal Reserve program that allowed banks to swap some assets for cash without having to realize the mark-to-market losses caused by higher interest rates.

Along with fears of more bank failures, the potential for more regulation and a smaller deposit base for mid-sized banks could also hurt stocks as investors assess the future profitability of regional banks.

The banking system received another shock on Wednesday CreditSuisseShares traded in Switzerland fell more than 20% amid fears the bank’s “material weakness” in its financial reporting could mean it has to raise more capital. However, the Swiss National Bank, the country’s central bank, has reached an agreement with Credit Suisse that allows it to borrow up to around $54 billion.

But while Credit Suisse’s struggles could have repercussions for the entire global banking system, the Swiss bank’s troubles appear unrelated to US regional banks.

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