Sunday, December 3, 2023

CNBC Daily Open: First Citizens struck a great bargain

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An exterior view of First Citizens Bank headquarters on March 27, 2023 in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Melissa Sue Gerrits | Getty Images News | Getty Images

This report is from today’s CNBC Daily Open, our new, international markets newsletter. CNBC Daily Open brings investors up to speed on everything they need to know, no matter where they are. Like what you see? You can subscribe here.

What you need to know today

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 rose Monday as regional banks rallied on improved sentiment. First Republic jumped 11.81%, KeyCorp added 5.31% and PacWest increased 3.46%. Likewise, bank stocks in Europe rose 1.4% — Deutsche Bank, in particular, climbed 6.29% — helping the pan-European Stoxx 600 index close 1.1% higher.
  • Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba, has been spotted in China after spending months out of the country. Analysts think it’s a sign Beijing’s loosening its grip on the technology sector in its pursuit of economic growth this year.
  • PRO Jeremy Siegel, professor at the Wharton School, said the Federal Reserve “basically beat inflation late last year,” citing these indicators.  

The bottom line

Investors are heaving a sigh of relief, and it’s all about the banks.

First Citizens’ purchase of SVB’s assets was a bargain in monetary terms. More crucially, it signaled to markets that, despite SVB’s financial difficulties, there was still value in SVB’s reputation and relationship with its clients. There’s hope, then, of reviving a dead bank — something that can happen only in an environment conducive to such miraculous feats.

Another troubled bank, First Republic, rallied after it was reported that U.S. authorities were considering giving the bank more time to shore up its liquidity. It might not need much more time, not only thanks to the $30 billion deposit promised to it by a coalition of banks, but also because the outflow of deposits from smaller banks to larger institutions has slowed in recent days, as sources told CNBC’s Hugh Son.

And beleaguered KeyCorp, which tanked about 60% since the start of the banking turmoil, has a chance of surging 68.6%, according to Citi, which upgraded KeyCorp to buy from neutral.

The optimism was reflected in the SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF (KRE), which rose about 0.87%. Major indexes — with the exception of the Nasdaq Composite (more on that in a moment) — closed the day in the green too. The Dow increased 0.6% and the S&P inched up 0.2%. The Nasdaq Composite, however, fell 0.5%.

Technology shares, which posted sterling gains as banks struggled the past two weeks, are now facing difficulties of their own. Alphabet slid 2.83%, Apple lost 2.8% and Meta fell 1.5%. Charles Schwab’s Liz Ann Sonders noted the S&P 500 information technology sector’s valuation, relative to the performance of the companies, has risen more than 30%. That’s not a sign we’re back in the pandemic days of sky-high tech valuation, but it’s something to keep an eye on as the banking crisis (hopefully) gets contained.

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