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First Republic falls as investors assess aid


First Republic Bank shares fell again on Friday, set for their worst week ever, as sentiment around the lender remained fragile even after proposals for $30 billion of aid from Wall Street’s biggest banks.
Shares in First Republic fell as much as 15% in US premarket trading, underperforming fellow regional banks, having already fallen by a record 60% so far. The losses follow a volatile session, when the stock plunged as much as 36% before ending the day with a 10% gain, after the biggest banks on Wall Street, including JPMorgan Chase & Co, Bank of America Corp, Citigroup and Wells Fargo & Co, pledged $30 billion of fresh cash for the lender.
However First Republic shares resumed their slide post-market, after it disclosed that its borrowings from the US Federal Reserve varied from $20 billion to $109 billion from March 10 to March 15.
Other regional banks were mixed, with PacWest Bancorp falling 2% in premarket trading, while Western Alliance Bancorp reversed earlier losses to trade 2.7% higher.
Some investors questioned the move to aid First Republic. Pershing Square’s Bill Ackman for instance, said in a tweet that spreading the risk of financial contagion to achieve “a false sense of confidence” in the lender was “bad policy.”
Analysts also had concerns. Piper Sandler & Co’s Andrew Liesch said that, while the infusion should help assuage investor concerns, First Republic’s earnings power could take a hit going forward, given that the fresh funds are being added at market rates.

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