Crisis Far From Over: Bank Stocks Continue to Plummet


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Crisis Far From Over: Bank Stocks Continue to Plummet

Banking crisis persists as PacWest and Western Alliance face investor scrutiny and loss of deposits.

Fed Chair: First Republic Seizure Eases Banking Crisis, PacWest Plummets 50%

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell made a recent statement regarding the state of the banking system. Powell claimed that the seizure of First Republic was a significant step towards resolving the turmoil in the banking system. However, despite this positive news, the stock of another struggling regional lender, PacWest (PACW), saw a sharp decline of over 50% when reports surfaced that the company was considering a sale or raising capital. Other regional banks, such as Western Alliance (WAL), also faced scrutiny from investors, and their stocks plummeted after the Financial Times reported that the Phoenix-based bank was exploring selling all or part of its business. These developments have prompted short sellers to increase their bets against regional bank stocks by more than $440 million in the last 30 days, with PacWest’s short interest increasing to over 18% of shares, making it the second most shorted regional bank stock.

Read More: First Quarter Earnings Reports: Banking Industry’s Challenge

Banks Losing Deposits Amidst Banking Crisis

The two most prominent lenders under scrutiny this week, PacWest and Western Alliance, lost a considerable amount of deposits during the first quarter as customers sought the perceived safety of larger banks or higher yields offered by money market funds. PacWest, which lost 17% of its deposits, and Phoenix-based Western Alliance, which lost 11%, both scrambled to reassure investors with new statements about their deposits following the news of First Republic’s seizure.

PacWest and Western Alliance in Discussions for Strategic Options

PacWest confirmed in a press release issued at 12:30 AM ET that it had explored asset sales and had been approached by several potential partners and investors, but that those discussions were ongoing. Meanwhile, Western Alliance’s stock took a deep dive after the FT reported that the bank was considering strategic options, including a sale. However, it recovered some of those losses after the company issued a statement calling the story “categorically false.”

Bill Ackman’s Pessimistic Take on Banking Crisis

While top figures on Wall Street and Washington have displayed optimism that the worst is over, investors continue to punish other regional lenders that share any characteristics of the three mid-sized banks already seized by regulators. Bill Ackman, CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management, offered a much more pessimistic take on the situation, calling on the US government to put in place a system-wide deposit guarantee to prevent more bank failures. Banking, he added, is a “confidence game” and “at this rate, no regional bank can survive bad news or bad data as a stock price plunge inevitably follows, insured and uninsured deposits are withdrawn and ‘pursuing strategic alternatives’ means an FDIC shutdown over the coming weekend.”

Read More: Dire Warnings of U.S. Economic Crisis After Latest Rate Increase

The Unpredictability of the Stock Market

The situation with regional banks underscores a disconnect in the financial world as the industry’s unrest drags into an eighth week. The new round of volatility for regional banks serves as a reminder that the stock market can be unpredictable and that it is crucial for investors to do their due diligence when investing in the market.

Testing Predictions Amidst Banking Crisis

Banking Crisis Continues: Regional Lenders Face Investor Scrutiny

Overall, the recent events with PacWest and Western Alliance have tested the predictions that the worst of the banking crisis is over. Despite the Federal Reserve’s efforts to stabilize the banking system, investors continue to punish regional lenders that share characteristics with the mid-sized banks that have already been seized by regulators. Short sellers have increased their bets against regional bank stocks, and PacWest has become the second most shorted regional bank stock. The losses of deposits by PacWest and Western Alliance during the first quarter indicate that customers are seeking the perceived safety of larger banks or higher yields offered by money market funds. While PacWest has confirmed ongoing discussions about asset sales and potential partnerships, Western Alliance has denied reports of considering strategic options, highlighting the unpredictability of the stock market and the importance of doing due diligence before investing.

Bill Ackman’s Pessimistic Take on Banking: Calls for Deposit Guarantee

Moreover, Bill Ackman’s pessimistic take on the banking crisis calls for a system-wide deposit guarantee to prevent more bank failures, emphasizing that banking is a “confidence game,” and any bad news or data can cause a stock price plunge, withdrawal of deposits, and potential FDIC shutdown.

Navigating Financial Uncertainty: Due Diligence for Stock Market Investing

In summary, the situation with PacWest and Western Alliance highlights the ongoing uncertainty and volatility in the financial world, testing predictions that the worst of the crisis is over. As investors navigate this unpredictable landscape, it is crucial to stay informed, do due diligence, and assess the potential risks and rewards of investing in the stock market.

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Stephen Fruchs

Stephen Fruchs is a finance contributor on the Trade Oracle platform. His experience is extensive in everything from micro to macroeconomic trends. With a decade of experience in the finance space, Stephen Fruchs provides consistent economic insights into the changing stock market landscape.