For the first time ever, Deutsche Bank AG’s share price dipped below 10 euros. Traders are preparing for it to fall even lower.
The most-owned bearish option on the German lender is a put with an exercise price of 8 euros. While investors started piling into the position in June, the fact that it’s so popular shows they’re seeking to hedge for further declines. The stock sank as much as 9 percent to 9.90 euros intraday, before paring its slide.
Trading in Deutsche Bank options has surged this month as the lender fell to a fresh record low on growing concerns about its ability to withstand mounting legal costs. Put volume reached a seven-year high on Monday, while the number of outstanding contracts on the firm has climbed to its highest ever.
“A very psychological barrier has been breached,” said Michael Hewson, an analyst at CMC Markets in London. “For a bank such as Deutsche Bank, whose share price in 2008 was light years away from being a single digit stock, to become a single-digit stock — it changes people’s perceptions. If it can drop through 10 euros, then what’s the next target? For Deutsche Bank’s share price to go towards 8 euros — I think that’s perfectly feasible.”
Since their peak in May 2007, Deutsche Bank shares have tumbled 90 percent. More than 83,000 of the 8-euro put that’s the most owned exist, up from about 32,000 in June. The open interest on the contract, which expires in December of next year, has climbed 14 percent since Sept. 6.
On Friday, Deutsche Bank options were among the most traded on Deutsche Boerse AG’s Eurex exchange. June puts with a 10 euro strike and 7.60 euro puts expiring in March were the bearish contracts on the stock that changed hands the most. A 10,000 block of the March options changed hands at the same time as an equal number of March 12.50 euro calls, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Deutsche Bank spokesman Don Hunter declined to comment on the stock and options trading.
In the latest turn of events, about 10 hedge funds that do business with Deutsche Bank have moved part of their listed derivatives holdings to other firms. Chief Executive Officer John Cryan’s reassurances that the lender has never had as safe a balance sheet in the past two decades wasn’t enough to stop the decline in shares.
As the stock tumbled and investors piled into options, bond traders also increased hedging. The cost of insuring the company’s subordinated debt reached a record this week, while that of credit-default swaps on its senior hit the highest since February, before paring their advance.
Deutsche Bank’s woes have spilled over to the rest of the industry, with a gauge tracking lenders for the region heading for its lowest level since Aug. 22. Commerzbank AG, which said on Thursday it will cut jobs and suspend dividends, dropped 6.1 percent.
As of 1:05 p.m. in Frankfurt, Deutsche Bank shares traded at 10.37 euros, down 4.6 percent.
“If it doesn’t close back above 10 euros today, I would be concerned that we could fall quite a bit lower,” Hewson said.