It looks like most banks had a terrible July

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Traders and investment bankers that celebrated impressive second quarters at most banks may want to put the cork back in the bottle. July was a very slow month.

Within investment banking, equity and debt capital markets revenue fell off a cliff in July, with projected fees dropping 42% and 28% month-over-month, respectively, according to Buckingham Research. And the sequential drop isn’t due to an unusually stellar June. Year-over-year, ECM and DCM revenues were down 19% and 40%, respectively.

In need of a strong second half to justify cuts elsewhere, investment bankers at Deutsche Bank had a particularly rough July, with global equity fees down a projected 60% compared to the month previous and 39% year-over-year. Same tune, different song in DCM, where projected revenues were down 41% compared to June (-18% Y/Y). Not the start Deutsche Bank was looking for to kick off the second half.

Activity was a bit stronger across the board in M&A, though projected fees for announced and completed deals were still down both sequentially and year-over-year. With most banks faring rather well in M&A during the first half, all eyes are on the one that floundered: Bank of America. The firm saw M&A revenues drop 36% during the first half of the year, and it looks like things haven’t improved much to start the second half. Bank of America has booked just $60 million in M&A fees during the start of the third quarter, on pace to fall well short of the $264 million it recorded in Q2 and the $283 million last year, according to Buckingham and Thomson Reuters.

Like investment bankers, traders were also stuck sitting on their hands more than they’d like during July. U.S. equities volume was down 16% year-over-year and 18% sequentially. Equity trading volumes in Europe and Asia were a bit stronger but still down double-digits compared to a year ago. FICC trading slowed as well, particularly in interest rate derivatives (35% M/M and 6% Y/Y).

It’s just one month – typically a slow one – but revenue totals are down across the board compared to July 2017. All the compliments over second quarter performances have likely dried up by now.

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