European banks: Still stressed out

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Stress-test results do little to dampen worries about Italy’s lenders

ANY big announcement about banks made after the markets close for the weekend is bound to bring back dark memories of the 2007-08 financial crisis. Although the results of the latest European bank stress tests, released on July 29th, contained much that was reassuring, they did not dispel investors’ doubts about the industry’s earnings prospects. And in the case of Italy, the tests seemed to exacerbate bigger worries. When the markets opened again on August 1st, they were marked by falls in banks’ share prices; the Euro Stoxx banks index dropped by 3% and almost 5% on successive days.
In aggregate the results suggested that European banks were in a healthier position than when the last exercise was conducted, in autumn 2014. This time the banks began with an average “fully-loaded” capital ratio of 12.6% and ended with one of 9.2% in the tests’ most adverse scenario; that compares …

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