Sell this bank as ‘crypto winter’ arrives, Wells Fargo says in double downgrade

It’s time to get out of crypto-focused bank Silvergate Capital , according to Wells Fargo. Analyst Jared Shaw double downgraded the stock to underweight from overweight, citing deposit outflows at the firm because of sharply falling cryptocurrency prices. The analyst also slashed his price target on the stock to $70 from $115, implying downside of 11.3% from Wednesday’s close. Silvergate shares dipped 3.7% in the premarket. “Crypto Winter [is] Freezing Our Enthusiasm,” Shaw wrote. “We continue to believe these are early days of broader digital asset adoption, but the growth outlook for SI as a pure-play crypto banking solution is significantly limited in the current environment. Silvergate Capital is “among the most asset sensitive banks,” but cratering cryptocurrency prices curtail any gains from higher interest rates, according to Wells Fargo. For example, the price of Bitcoin is down 56% this year, according to Coindesk. Meanwhile, shares of Silvergate Capital are down roughly 47% year to date. The analyst expects the next two quarters will be “particularly challenging,” as investors await clarity on the broader economy, and lowered 2023 EPS estimates by 23%. “Over the long-term, institutional adoption of crypto should help SI; however, while crypto was a leading indicator for the current recessionary environment, we do not believe it will be the leader on the way to future recovery, which will likely mean continued balance sheet pressure,” Shaw wrote. –CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

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