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Posts Tagged ‘managed earnings’

Is The Economy Turning The Corner?

Posted by Larry Doyle on April 21st, 2009 7:05 AM |

Markets correct by price (both up and down) and time (extended). Despite the 3+% price declines in equity markets yesterday, the markets are up approximately 20% since the market lows seen on March 6th. Some analysts believe this upward move signals an improvement in the economy largely due to the fiscal and monetary stimulus provided by Uncle Sam. I am not in that camp.

A few emerging economies, specifically China, have improved. Can the rest of the world, including the U.S., expect those economies to be the engine for a global turnaround at this juncture? I do not think so. I still see the following issues on our domestic horizon:

1. continued deterioration in loan performance on bank books

2. a banking system woefully capital deficient

3. an automotive industry which must downsize

4. municipalities which are faced with the predicamant of capital shortfalls and underfunded pensions

5. commercial real estate just starting to experience real defaults

6. a housing market with increased foreclosures pressuring prices

7. an unemployment rate clearly headed toward double digits

Earnings reports for the first quarter have been mixed. I view the recently reported bank earnings as largely “managed” via accounting gimmicks. Meredith Whitney believes the earnings for major money center banks will turn negative in the 2nd quarter. The regional banks, without the benefit of large capital market activities but facing credit writedowns, report earnings today. Key Corp just reported a loss of $1.09 eps (earnings per share) versus an estimate of -.21. I suspect we will see losses from other regional banks of a similar magnitude. (more…)

Good News and Bad News: The Plot Thickens

Posted by Larry Doyle on April 13th, 2009 6:39 PM |

It seems as if Wall Street banks are releasing “surprisingly positive” earnings in stealth fashion these days. Goldman Sachs was expected to release 1st quarter 2009 earnings tomorrow. Well, Goldman just released that they “blew the doors off” the building in a very explosive and positive fashion. Bloomberg reports Goldman Sachs to Sell $5 Billion in Stock, Repay TARP:

The New York-based bank earned $1.81 billion, or $3.39 a share, in the first quarter as a surge in trading revenue outweighed asset writedowns. The results beat the $1.64 a share estimate of 16 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

The earnings were driven by a sizable increase in trading activity which reads as a major gain in market share. With Bear, Lehman, and Merrill all gone and Citi and BofA in the hospital, the crowd at Goldman is sowing while the sun shines. What does that mean? For those who want or need to “play,” Goldman is now one of the few shops truly open for biz. The price to “get in the game” just went up and Goldman’s franchise is clearly benefiting:

Goldman Sachs benefited as the gap between what banks pay to buy fixed-income securities and the price at which they sell, the so-called bid-ask spread, almost doubled to 19 basis points in six months, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Over and above the earnings, Goldman has sent a clear signal to Uncle Sam requesting him to leave the Goldman “casino.” With Goldman’s earnings power clearly defined, the firm has announced its intention to raise more equity capital and pay back the TARP money it received last Fall. It will make that equity raise after the release of the Bank Stress Tests at the end of the month. Uncle Sam’s intentions to oversee compensation, business practices, and the like is the antithesis of how Goldman operates. While the actual cost of the government TARP money is cheap, the unknown costs are enormous. Goldman has no interest in maintaining those risks.    (more…)






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