MILAN (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) shares spiked higher in afternoon trading on Wednesday after a Bloomberg report said regulators would prefer the German lender to merge with a European rival rather than local competitor Commerzbank (CBKG.DE).
According to people familiar with the matter cited by the news agency, the European Central Bank (ECB) favours a cross-border combination to drive integration in the region's financial markets.
Deutsche Bank declined to comment, while Commerzbank was not immediately available to comment.
Shares in Deutsche Bank, which hit their lowest level on record last month, were up 7.6 percent by 1601 GMT, outperforming the broader banking sector and set for its biggest one-day gain since April 2017.
Commerzbank (CBKG.DE) share also rallied, up 6 percent.
Rival European banks Societe Generale (SOGN.PA) and ING (INGA.AS) were up 4.3 and 3.5 percent respectively. The euro zone banking index (.SX7E) gained more than 3 percent.
(Reporting by Danilo Masoni in MILAN and Tom Sims in FRANKFURT)