Deutsche Bank (DB - Get Report) shares continued to test their all-time lows Wednesday, even as management at Germany's biggest lender insisted their turnaround plan would swing the bank into profit, after stronger-than-expected third quarter earnings failed to offset a patchy full-year outlook.
The bank said net profit for the three months ending in September were pegged at €229 million, topping the consensus forecast of €115 million but falling 65% from the same period last year. Total group revenues, the bank said, fell 9% to €6.776 billion -- the lowest since 2010 -- and isn't expected to rise past 2017 levels over the course of the year. However, new CEO Christian Sewing, who is attempt to cut costs and pivot the once-globally focused bank towards more domestic and European based growth, struck an optimistic tone amid the gloomy bottom line.
"This result is another milestone on our way to becoming a sustainably profitable bank," Sewing said. "We have our costs under control and sufficient capital to grow. We are on track to be profitable in 2018, for the first time since 2014."
Investors, however, were less convinced, sending Deutsche Bank shares down down more than 4.5% in early Frankfurt trading, to within pennies of its all-time low of €8.755, before paring the decline to around 3.84% and €8.95 each, a move that still leaves the stocks nursing a year-to-date loss of 43.55%.
Deutsche Bank's trading division, a critical revenue driver, saw 15% declines in both fixed income and equity turnover. Sewing said in July that he had "accelerated the reshaping of our bank significantly and proved the resilience of our global business," over the second quarter, and made "important changes to our core businesses".
"We made headway on our cost reductions," Sewing was quoted as saying in a memo to the bank's 95,000 employees today. "On the other hand we have not yet achieved a turnaround in terms of revenues."
Last month, Deutsche Bank said it has been transitioning its business away from London, including the shifting and ring fencing of financial assets, thanks in part to the uncertainty surrounding Britain's exit from the European Union.
The move follows tighter restrictions from the European Central Bank, which is now the region's key banking regulator, that require lenders to set aside more capital to protect operations in "third countries", a definition that will included the United Kingdom once it exits the EU in March of next year.
Deutsche Bank has targeted significant costs cuts across its global operations, including a pullback in its investment banking division in the United States, as part of a larger effort to re-align its focus to domestic and European markets.
The weak third quarter earnings will complicate its aim to provide investors with a 4% equity return in 2019, particularly if bond trading revenues continue to head south. However, Deutsche Bank CFO James von Moltke told investors Wednesday that the bank has a "good degree of confidence" that the bank can turn the corner on revenues this year.