(Bloomberg) -- Europe’s biggest investment banks delivered further evidence that as the boost from rising interest rates fizzles out, investors can find solace in the fact that there’s signs of life in capital markets.

Barclays Plc shares rose about 6% in morning trading, with shareholders cheering an equities trading surge that helped cement a solid start to its three-year strategy revamp. Equities also lifted revenue at French rival BNP Paribas SA, along with cost cuts. At Deutsche Bank AG, meanwhile, sagging earnings at the corporate and retail bank were offset by strong fixed-income trading.

“Deals flow and the equities markets themselves have started to show some buoyancy,” Barclays Chief Executive Officer C.S. Venkatakrishnan said on Bloomberg Television. “We want to increase what we do in M&A, we want to increase what we do in equities.”

The results serve as a reminder to investors who’ve driven European bank stocks higher that a period of record profits on the back of rising interest rates is giving way to a less certain outlook where markets may determine quarterly fortunes. That was already the case for Wall Street peers, who managed to eke out a small gain in trading that eased the blow from disappointing net interest income.

Barclays first-quarter results topped estimates, helping confirm the thrust of Venkatakrishnan’s strategy update, which redesigned the British bank’s business structure and set more ambitious financial targets. The CEO and Chairman Nigel Higgins have come under increasing pressure from investors as Barclays struggles with mediocre returns and a lagging share price. 

As part of the February update, Barclays vowed to focused more on growing in its home market. The quarter’s results also showed the bank is making progress toward that goal.

One area of weakness was the fixed-income business, where Barclays failed to keep up with Deutsche Bank AG. The German lender’s traders delivered a 7% jump in the first quarter, more than analysts had expected.

“In global markets, we did not capture market opportunities to the same extent as some of our competitors did,” Venkatakrishnan said on a conference call with journalists.  

The German rival’s fixed income result was better than analysts had expected and ahead of most of the biggest US investment banks. Income from advising on deals and stock and bond sales jumped 54%. Yet revenue at the corporate and private bank fell 5% and 2% respectively.

Deutsche Bank’s shares recovered from an earlier slump to add to this year’s rally on expectations that central banks will be more careful than expected in cutting interest rates. That could boost CEO Christian Sewing as seeks to deliver on an ambitious revenue goal.

Sewing has vowed to improve profitability and lift revenue to €30 billion this year, a goal some analysts view with skepticism. In the role for six years, he is cutting thousands of jobs in the back office to curb costs while building out the advisory business with last year’s purchase of Numis Corp. to boost fee income.

“We are very pleased” with the investment bank, Chief Financial Officer James von Moltke said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. The trends of the first quarter “have continued into April,” he said, including “a slower macro environment” that’s being offset by “momentum in credit” and emerging markets.

At BNP Paribas SA, CEO Jean-Laurent Bonnafe has also stepped up cost cuts while investing in areas such as equities. That unit was a bright spot in the first quarter, with revenue rising 11%, while fixed-income trading slumped by a fifth, worse than analysts had expected. 

Net income of €3.1 billion ($3.3 billion) still came in well ahead of analysts’ estimates, helped by lower-than-expected provisions and a decline in expenses. In recent years, BNP Paribas has taken over equities businesses that Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse shed as they sought to reduce their risk profiles.

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