Credit Suisse shares fall again, sentiment remains fragile

Shares in Credit Suisse resumed their decline on Friday, giving up early gains, in a sign that investor sentiment remains fragile in a week that has seen the troubled Swiss lender secure a $54 billion lifeline.

A ratings downgrade and a U.S. lawsuit on Thursday offset some of the relief that stemmed from the emergency liquidity line the bank secured from the Swiss central bank earlier in the day.

Credit Suisse fell by as much as 5.8% following two days of sharp swings, which saw the its shares jump 20% on Thursday following a 24% drop on Wednesday when its largest investor said it would not be able to increase its stake. Volatility remained high.

The shares were last down 3.4% on Friday at 1.953 francs ($2.11).

“Whether depositors are sufficiently reassured to stem outflows over the next few days is a key question, in our view,” said Frédérique Carrier, head of investment strategy for RBC Wealth Management.

“While markets are relieved that the Swiss central bank stepped in, sentiment is bound to remain very fragile, particularly as investors will likely worry about the eventual economic impact of aggressive monetary policy tightening by the European Central Bank (ECB),” she added.

DBRS Morningstar on Thursday became the first global rating agency to cut the bank’s credit score, with a downgrade to “BBB”, which still qualifies Credit Suisse as investment grade.

The head of the Credit Suisse’s Swiss business said late on Thursday the funding would allow the bank to continue its revamp, although it could take time to win back client confidence.

The ECB convened an unscheduled meeting of its Supervisory Board on Friday to discuss stress and vulnerabilities in the euro zone bank sector after a recent selloff in bank shares, a spokesperson said.

The news is a further sign that concern about banking stress remains elevated.

A $30 billion lifeline for U.S.-based First Republic Bank eased fears about its future, but a late tumble in its shares showed investors remained concerned about cracks in the sector.

Credit Suisse shares are down about 22% this week and poised for their biggest week drop since March 2020 when the COVID-19 crisis wreaked turmoil across world markets.

European banking stocks were marginally higher on Friday but were nursing heavy weekly losses – down almost 9% in their biggest fall in a year.

“We are still a little cautious here but there certainly has been more positive news on Credit Suisse,” said John Milroy, investment adviser at Ord Minnett.

“Markets still thinking that there is something else to crack with the Fed hell bent on raising rates and some more work to do.”

It’s not just the confidence of the markets that has been severely shaken.

U.S. shareholders of Credit Suisse sued the bank on Thursday, claiming it defrauded them by concealing problems with its finances. Credit Suisse declined to comment on the lawsuit.

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