Deutsche Bank (DB) - Get Report shares slipped lower Wednesday after Germany's biggest bank posted second quarter earnings that matched its own recent forecasts and investors continued to question its longer-term ambition to accelerate cost cuts in order to meet targeted shareholder returns.
Deutsche Bank said net profit for the three months ending in June fell 14% from the same period last year to €401 million ($469 million), a figure that essentially matched the bank's fresh forecasts, which were published on July 16. Revenues for the period were tabbed at €6.6 billion, the bank said, little-changed from the same period last year.
"In the second quarter we accelerated the reshaping of our bank significantly and proved the resilience of our global business," CEO Christian Sewing said in a statement Wednesday. "We're making important changes to our core businesses as promised, we're headed in the right direction on costs, and our balance sheet quality is strong. This gives us the flexibility to invest in areas where we have particular strengths."
Deutsche Bank shares were marked 1.45% lower at €10.30 each by mid-day in Frankfurt, a move that extends its year-to-date decline past 35% and values the Frankfurt-based lender at just under €21 billion.
Revenues from the group's bond trading division, historically an important component to bank's bottom line, fell 17% to €1.4 billion, a sharp contrast to the gains reported for many of Deutsche Bank's larger U.S. rivals.
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. However, while the bank said its on target to meet its 2018 target adjusted cost target of €23 billion, second quarter figures suggest only modest changes to its overhead have been made so far this year.
That could complicate its aim to provide investors with a 4% equity return in 2019, particularly if bond trading revenues continue to head south. Deutsche Bank CFO James von Moltke told investors Wednesday that the bank expects muted market volatility over the second half of the year, but insisted that its corporate and investment banking divisions can used redeployed capital to generate profits.
Last month, Deutsche Banks' U.S. division failed the second phase of the Federal Reserve's stress tests, a verdict that will likely prevent it from paying a dividend to its parent in Frankfurt. The Fed said it had concerns with the way Deutsche Bank's U.S. division forecast future revenues in the face of a theoretical global recession, and a spike in domestic unemployment, and said there were "material weaknesses" its data capabilities and capital planning processes.
The Fed also identified "approaches and assumptions used to forecast revenues and losses arising from many of its key business lines" and in its risk-management", the central bank said. "Together, these weaknesses raise concerns about DB USA's ability to effectively determine its capital needs on a forward-looking basis."
The results may hasten plans by Sewing to scale-down the U.S. operations and accelerate cost cost cuts at Germany's largest lender, something investors have been demanding both before and after the departure of ousted CEO John Cryan.
von Moltke said Wednesday that the bank's plans to reduce staff in its global equities division by 25% was nearly complete but noted that restructuring costs would remain below €800 million this year.