European Bank Shares Rise on Basel III Agreement

By Alberto Delclaux Features Dow Jones Newswires

European bank stocks rose Friday morning led by French gains of over 3% after an agreement--seen as less onerous than expected--was reached on Basel III reform.

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Global finance officials agreed Thursday on banking rules on how to measure riskiness of lenders, a longtime topic of discussion between Europe and U.S. officials. The compromise will likely force banks, especially in Europe, to increase their capital cushion. Yet they will have a comfortably long period of time to do so, as the new rules will be phased in between 2022 and 2027.

Analysts at Credit Suisse say the proposal could act as a catalyst for the sector, highlighting the long phase-in period, which gives banks time to build capital. The analysts signal as relative winners mortgage-heavy banks with manageable impact or sizeable buffers--such as Lloyds Banking Group PLC (LLOY.LN), Danske Bank A/S (DANSKE.KO) and ABN AMRO Group NV (ABN.AE)--and banks with historically high litigation--such as Lloyds and BNP Paribas SA (BNP.FR).

Other brokers, such as Natixis, have pointed out that the agreement has significantly reduced the risk of a more conservative dividend policy on the part of banks.

French banks are leading gains in the sector, with Societe Generale SA (GLE.FR) up 4.4%, BNP Paribas up 3.7% and Credit Agricole SA (ACA.FR) up 3.9%.

Write to Alberto Delclaux at alberto.delclaux@dowjones.com

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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 08, 2017 07:19 ET (12:19 GMT)