By Pierre Bertrand

 

European banking shares fell Friday as unease originating from UBS Group AG, Credit Suisse Group AG and Deutsche Bank AG dragged down the sector's stocks.

At 0912 GMT, UBS and Credit Suisse shares in Switzerland fell by more than 5%.

The two Swiss banks are among institutions scrutinized as part of a U.S. Justice Department investigation into whether bankers helped Russian oligarchs evade sanctions, Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed sources.

Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank shares fell more than 8% amid reports of a rise in the price of its so-called credit default swaps, which track the cost of insuring against bond defaults.

Deutsche Bank said Friday it has decided to redeem $1.5 billion notes due 2028 early. The notes will be redeemed on May 24 at their full principal amount together with accrued interest to the redemption date, the German lender said.

The unease dragged Commerzbank AG shares, which fell more than 4%, while Societe Generale SA fell more than 4%. Italy's UniCredit SpA and Spain's Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA both fell more than 3%.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Banks Index fell 3%.

Analysts at Jefferies also cut their recommendation on UBS to hold from buy, citing risks and uncertainties arising from its agreed takeover of Credit Suisse. "Negatively, it changes for years the equity story of UBS, which was based on a lower risk profile, organic growth focus, high capital return," the Jefferies analysts said.

 

Write to Pierre Bertrand at pierre.bertrand@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

March 24, 2023 05:37 ET (09:37 GMT)

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