After losing a quarter of their market value since the start of the year, European banks are looking badly bruised and trying hard to reassure investors that there is nothing to fear.
Shares have sold off as falling oil prices and slowing growth in China conspired to make the start of 2016 the worst on record on Wall Street. Europe has not been spared, with banking stocks down almost 25 percent year-to-date as concerns over provisions for bad debts and the banks' exposure to the energy sector loans grows.
Deutsche Bank shares have come under severe pressure; the stock is down over 30 percent year-to-date. The group's co-CEO said in a memo to staff on Tuesday that the bank remained "absolutely rock-solid" given its strong capital and risk position. But the comments only served to undermine investors' confidence further, with the stock tumbling once again.
On Monday it had already tried to restore calm by saying it had "sufficient" reserves to service its so-called tier 1 debts, or its most junior bonds. There was some respite on Wednesday. Shares soared 15 percent following a Financial Times report which said the bank was considering buying back several billion euros of its debt.
Analysts caution against doomsday scenarios, arguing banks are in much better shape than in 2008 when the financial crisis unfolded.