Deutsche Bank: Contrary play on Europe
For contrarians, here's an out-of-favor banking stock based in the equally unpopular eurozone.
Deutsche Bank (DB) isn't anyone's idea of a nimble growth stock; with a market cap of nearly $39 billion, the Frankfurt bank is the largest in Germany.
It has offices in every major financial center in the world and offers pretty much the entire spectrum of banking services, with well over 3,000 branches, 10,000 employees and assets of about $2.8 trillion.
Deutsche Bank was a huge player in the collateralization of mortgages that was at the rotten heart of the housing bubble. When the dust cleared from the wreckage in 2008, the bank's earnings dropped from $14.85 per share to a loss of $13.47.
DB was trading at high as $154 in 2007, but was road kill at $22 in January 2009. The 2009 recovery pushed it back as high as $85, but the stock has been bumping downhill ever since.
We have seen a more enthusiastic rally recently when the European Central Bank agreed to be a buyer of distrressed Mediterranean debt. While Deutsche Bank has minimal exposure to Greece, it's heavily involved in Italy and Spain, and its fortunes are tied to the success of the eurozone.
We think much of the bad new has been priced into the stock. In fact, we're now making a case that the stock represents both a good value and an opportunistic investment. With an attractive 1.7% forward annual dividend yield and a p/e ratio of just 11, there's a lot to like about DB.
But you have to remember that this is a bet on the continued survival and success of the eurozone. If you buy, you will be buying a combination of German and international banking strength set against southern European vulnerability. It looks like a reasonable bet to us.
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