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Deutsche Targets Further Cost Cutting in U.S. Equities Unit

Zacks Equity Research

Per a Reuters article, Deutsche Bank DB is mulling to make cutbacks in the U.S. equities trading business, with a view to impress investors with the turnaround plans post failed merger talks with Commerzbank.

Majority of cost reductions is likely to reflect in the failing equities business, which includes cash equities trading. Another function where cuts can be seen is U.S. rates trading. Per the article, the number of employees to be affected by this move is not certain at present.

The equities unit has not been performing well for a while. This led Deutsche Bank to announce about 25% cut in equities sales and trading jobs, including a significant number in New York last year as part of its major overhaul plans.

Moreover, European central bank regulators have expressed concerns whether the bank will be able to clear the public stress test of its combined U.S. business, conducted by the Federal Reserve every year. In the past, the German lender thrice failed to impress the regulator with its financial standing.

At its annual meeting on Thursday, CEO Christian Sewing told shareholders that the bank is prepared to make “tough cutbacks” at its investment bank. However, shares of Germany’s largest bank dropped to a record low on the NYSE, reflecting investors’ concerns over the bank’s ability to improve performance.

“We will accelerate transformation by rigorously focusing our bank on profitable and growing businesses which are particularly relevant for our clients,” said Sewing at the meeting.

Further, Deutsche Bank faces pressure to trim its investment banking division following the collapse of merger talks with the domestic rival Commerzbank. Several investors and even credit rating agencies have put forth similar opinions.

Though Deutsche Bank’s restructuring efforts like cost-saving measures look encouraging, it is really difficult to determine how much the bank will gain, considering the lingering headwinds. Moreover, dismal revenue performance remains another concern.

Shares of Deutsche Bank have declined 11.3% so far this year on the NYSE against 4.8% growth recorded by the industry.

The stock currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

Some better-ranked stocks in the finance space are HSBC Holdings plc HSBC, Macatawa Bank Corporation MCBC and Washington Federal, Inc. WAFD. All these stocks carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for HSBC has been raised 6% for the current year in the past 30 days. The company’s share price has jumped 3% in the past three months.

Macatawa Bank has witnessed 3.7% upward revision in earnings estimate for 2019 in the past 30 days. Its share price has risen 2.6% in the past six months.

Washington Federal’s shares have gained 16.7% in six months’ time. Its earnings estimates for 2019 have moved up 2% in the past 60 days.

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