Germany's Deutsche Bank (DB - Get Report) plunged further on Wednesday, at one point slipping to a record low €11.370 ($12.57), down 6.7% on Tuesday's already weak closing price of €12.13. The continued fall, as the share plumbs depths unseen for 30 years, comes as Barclays analysts reduced their earnings per share target for Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse (CS - Get Report) and UBS (UBS - Get Report) , citing capital gaps and restructuring challenges as the dominant issue.
Bid mid-afternoon in Europe, or 9.30 a.m. Eastern Time, Credit Suisse was down 2.3% at Sfr9.86 ($10.08), UBS down 3.5% at Sfr11.70 and Deutsche Bank was down 4.9% at €11.55.
In a note Barclays said all three banks had lagged their U.S. peers and while the recovery in the first quarter had continued into the second quarter, "the quarter-on-quarter improvement is unlikely to be sufficiently powerful and is likely to leave a decline year-on-year across all three firms."
Citing consensus analyst recommendations, Barclays added that European investment banks are now the least loved they have been in the last five years and that analysts' downgrades are steepest at Deutsche Bank over a three-month period, while downgrades at UBS are steepest over a full year.
Barclays cut its earnings per share estimates for UBS by 6% for 2017 and 4% for 2018; Credit Suisse by 2% for next year and 1% for 2018; and 1% for each of the next two years for Deutsche Bank.
The fall and the Barclays report follow last week's International Monetary Fund report labeling Deutsche Bank the riskiest globally significant bank. The report came the day after Deutsche Bank's failure of the Federal Reserve's stress tests.
Even though the Deutsche Bank unit that failed the test, Deutsche Bank Trust Corp., represented only about 15% of the German group's U.S. assets, the Fed said it would not be allowed to distribute cash to its parent.
And the German parent has already guided there will be zero dividend to its shareholders this year. Barclays held its dividend estimate for Deutsche Bank for 2017 at €0.75 per share.
Reuters on Wednesday also reported that Deutsche Bank is looking to sell at least $1 billion of shipping loans to lighten its exposure to the sector. Some of the loans are considered toxic debt, the agency said, citing a finance source.
Fears about Deutsche's safety, due to excessive leverage and exposure to derivatives, have prompted comparisons with Lehman Brothers, whose September 2008 collapse unleashed a global financial crisis.
But in an article in TheStreet's Real Money, Jim Cramer argues that the German government will never let Deutsche Bank fail the way former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson let Lehman fail.
That's because, he said, the elites that run European countries also run the banks. At the last minute, he argues, Germany will inject equity into the bank "and that will be it."
"Do you think that the richest country on Earth, Germany, is going to let Deutsche Bank be Lehman? Do you think they are going to teach Deutsche a lesson, the way that Hank Paulson thought might be the right thing to do when Lehman was on the ropes? I think they ARE Deutsche Bank," said Cramer.
That's a view that used to be current in Germany itself, where the network of cross-shareholdings between Germany's largest banks, financial institutions and industrial groups was known as Deutschland AG - or Germany Inc. Some of that network has been unwound over the last decade and a half, but the attitude of mutual support and obligation still prevails in some quarters.