I wanted to share a series of negative news flow relating to the weakness in the core businesses of the investment banks owing to increased volatility in the capital markets over the last few months. This ebb from the sell side trails the opinion of BoomBustBlog research which forwarned of the same very early in the first quarter as well as last quarter of 2009l The news flow points out that the upcoming results of GS, MS and JPM might be disappointing or below expectations - as if we already didn't know this.

  • According to some of the recent MSM articles, the recent surge in volatility has led to record low activity in the underwriting and M&A activity.

Global M&A value for the first half of 2010 grew 3% to $1.18 trillion, compared with $1.15 trillion a year earlier, according to Dealogic's figures. But while values were up against the year-earlier period, the $552.7 billion in value generated in the second quarter was down almost 7% compared with the first quarter of the year - WSJ.com.

Wall Street investment banks sold $1.36 trillion of stocks and bonds in the second quarter, down 33% from the second quarter of 2009 and the lowest quarterly total since the fourth quarter of 2008, according to Dealogic.

  • Also, the capital markets volatility will have severe implications for the trading revenues of investment banks like GS and MS which derive substantial portions of their revenues from trading activities. Analysts have been downgrading earnings estimates for these banks and GS’s earnings have been particularly slashed since it generates nearly 60-70% of total revenues from trading.

Barclays Capital analyst, Roger Freeman, cut earnings estimates for Goldman Sachs Group (GS) and Morgan Stanley (MS) on June 23, 2010. Freeman slashed his second-quarter profit forecast for Goldman by nearly 64% to $1.95 a share from $5.35 a share. Freeman is expecting 40% lower trading revenues in FICC and equity segments in 2Q10 against 1Q10. His estimate for Morgan Stanley dropped 29% to 55 cents a share from 77 cents a share - WSJ.com.

Bank of America analyst, Guy Moszkowski, also slashed earnings estimates for GS and MS. He revised GS’ 2Q10 earnings estimates to $1.76 per share, 51% lower than the previous estimate of $3.57. The new estimates reflect a 45% decline in equity trading revenue and 40% drop in fixed-income trading revenue compared with the first quarter. MS’s 2Q10 EPS estimate was cut 35%, to 58 cents a share from 89 cents. The estimate on JPMorgan Chase & Co. was trimmed to 70 cents a share from 77 cents, and Citigroup Inc. was lowered to 2 cents a share from 4 cents - Businessweek.

I would also like to add that the recent volatility and market decline has also impacted the AUM of asset managers and there has been downward price revision by analysts. The assets under management of BEN declined 5% (m-o-m) in May, 2010 and the June figures are not yet out. Consequently, the target price estimates have been lowered by many analysts. In June, FBR Capital lowered its target for BEN to $105 from $118 and Barclays capital lowered its target for BEN to $125 from $133. Analyst at Goldman Sachs have also made significant downward revisions in this sector.


Now, the news flow in light of applied BoomBustBlog research:

The Asset Manager Trade is Printing Money Almost as Fast as Ben Bernanke 

Published in BoomBustBlog

Yesterday, I sat through a conference sponsored by Andrew Schneider's Hedgeco.net on starting and marketing hedge funds. As I sat through the various presentations focusing on transparency, performance results, etc., I though to myself, " You know Reg, you probably rank in the top echelon of these guys in terms of absolute performance, and in terms of transparency you actually publish what you do on the web for all to see." Shortly thereafter I glimpsed at the latest issue of HedgeWeekly2010_No21 and decided to compare my blog results with that of the top funds.

For 2008

fund 2008

As you can see, many funds were hurt in 2008, but there were some who did quite well, with the top of the pile pulling just over 72%. That's pretty damn good! Below is an excerpt from the BoomBustBlog post "Updated 2008 performance":

Below are the raw, absolute returns for my proprietary account. These returns are calculated by calculating the difference between my starting point and ending point, and is the number that I use for comparison (since it is the number that shows how much money I actually made).


Reggie’s gross avg. return S&P return
For all 2007 (6 months)
42.93% -8.23%
For Q1 2008 50.03% 0.68%
For Q2 2008 53.46% -8.66%
For Q3 2008 32.40% -8.30%
For all 2008 196.11% -8.69%
Since inception 481.04% -35.72%
2008 absolute return 335.42%



Correlation
to S&P 500
-61.02%
Correlated
Beta
-2.26

The numbers below are average monthly numbers. They are posted for the sake of uniform comparison.

Published in BoomBustBlog
We've got a particularly heavy dose of BS in the mainstream news channel this morning. I believe it to be my duty to throw some facts amids this boiling cauldron of fiction, fantasy, propaganda, marketing and straight up lies. First up (yeah, you guessed it), those gosh darn Europeans...

June 9 (Bloomberg) -- France and Germany called on the European Union to speed up curbs on financial speculation, saying some bets against stocks and government bonds should be banned as markets suffer a resurgence of “strong volatility.”

Published in BoomBustBlog
Tuesday, 01 June 2010 06:44

Quick Newscan for Tuesday, June 1st 2010

In the news this morning:

  1. Stocks, U.S. Futures Tumble on China Growth Concern, BP Spill; Oil Plunges: We discussed the topic of China's unsustainable growth and the knock on effects its slowdown would have on other economies in detail just last week. How timely...
    1. The Narrowing Chinese Trade Surplus
    2. In Australia, Tax as a Contagion
    3. Australia: The Land Down Under(water in mortgage debt)
    4. BoomBustBlog China Focus: Inflation?
    5. BoomBustBlog China Focus: Interest Rates
    6. My China Ruminations Have Come to Pass As the Country Enters a Bear Market
    7. Chubble (The Unmistakeable, Yet Thoroughly Argued Chinese Bubble), Unemployed/Deleveraging Shopaholics Pushing Retail Stocks & Other News
  2. Euro Weakens Against Dollar on Speculation Crisis Hurting Region's Economy: Nothing new here. BoomBustBlog newcomers, see the Pan-European Debt Crisis here.
  3. BP Tumbles Most in 18 Years After Abandoning Attempt to Plug Leaking Well: The company's future doesn't look to bright!
  4. Paulson Drops 6.9% as Hedge Funds Post Biggest Monthly Losses Since Lehman (HNWs and institutional investors should take the time to read this article and my summaries): Many funds, including Paulson's, made hard bullish bets on the financial sector recovering, in direct contravention to my positions and research. Yes, the financial sector took off like a bat out of hell the last 3 quarters of 2009, but one shouldn't confuse sharp market price movements with fundamentals. Many, if not most are in bad shape, and it ain't lookin' much better in the near term either. See The Next Step in the Bank Implosion Cycle???. Most importantly, many (if not most) professional money managers and analysts totally underestimated the extent of the damage being done Europe. I have was weary of Europe since 2008, put short research and positions on in 2009 (with mixed results due to the bear market rally) and went full blown GRIZZLY BEAR in 2010 (reference the Pan-European Debt Crisis which publicly documents and details it all). Back to the news clip:
    1. (Bloomberg) -- John Paulson, Louis Bacon and Andreas Halvorsen navigated the global market turmoil of 2008 with little or no damage. They weren’t as successful last month as the Dow Jones Industrial average had its worst May since 1940. Hedge funds lost an average of 2.7 percent through May 27, according to the HFRX Global Hedge Fund Index, as the sovereign debt crisis in Europe triggered declines in stocks, the euro and commodities, and the gap in yields between U.S. short-term and long-term debt narrowed. It was the biggest decline since November 2008, when hedge funds lost 3 percent in the wake of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s bankruptcy two months earlier. Almost every strategy lost money in May, according to Hedge Fund Research Inc. in Chicago, as the Dow index of 30 big stocks sank 7.6 percent including dividends amid speculation that Greece’s debt problems would spread to nations such as Spain and Portugal. Some of the best-known funds saw their gains for this year erased. “Attempting to manage risk in an environment where everything that could go wrong does go wrong seems like a fruitless endeavor,” said Brad Balter, who runs Balter Capital Management LLC, a Boston firm that invests in hedge funds for clients. “The only defense that seems to work in months like these is being in cash.”

    "SAC Capital Advisors LLC, the hedge-fund firm run by Steven Cohen in Stamford, Connecticut, with about $12 billion under management, lost 2.9 percent last month through May 21 with its SAC Capital International fund, trimming this year’s gain to about 4 percent, according to people familiar with the firm.

    Citadel Investment Group LLC, the $12 billion hedge-fund firm run by Ken Griffin, lost about 2 percent with its biggest funds last month through May 21, said people familiar with the Chicago firm. The funds soared as much as 62 percent last year as markets rebounded after losing as much as 55 percent in 2008.

    Brevan Howard Asset Management LLP in London, Europe’s largest hedge-fund firm, lost 0.1 percent for the month through May 21 with its Brevan Howard Fund Ltd., leaving it with a decline of 0.3 percent this year, according to an investor.

    1. I will gladly compare the performance of BoomBustBlog research to any bank, fund or asset manager that charges big commissions or 2 and 20! Reference Updated 2008 performance and the 2009 Year End Note to BoomBustBlog Readers and Subscribers for rough performance numbers covering 2007, 2008 and 2009.
  5. Analysts Boosting Forecasts See 25% Stock Gain Defying El-Erian New Normal: Yeah, but aren't analysts mostly wrong unless we're in  a bull  market? Stocks always go up, Right????!!!! Reference Blog vs Broker, Who Do You Trust?
  6. Cameron Bull Market in Gilts Beating Merkel Bonds as U.K. Keeps AAA Rating: For now, at least. Subscribers, see 
    File Icon UK Public Finances March 2010

Published in BoomBustBlog

The Wall Street Compensation issue is being made much more complex than it needs to be. Let's take Goldman for example. - Bloomberg: Self-Evaluations Seen as New Source of Concern After Goldman Sachs Hearing

April 28 (Bloomberg) -- Wall Street employers, long concerned that their staff’s e-mails may be used against them, now have another thing to worry about: the self-evaluations employees fill out.

At a 10-hour congressional hearing yesterday, senators pointed to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. employees’ self-evaluations, which included boasts about making “extraordinary profits” by betting against the subprime market, as proof the company misled investors into a mortgage-linked investment. [If they made "extraordinary profits", then the transactions shouldn't be considered an economic hedge]

The fact that self-evaluations were used against Goldman employees could keep companies from being open in their own review process, hampering feedback that makes evaluations productive, said Gary Hayes, co-founder of management consulting firm Hayes Brunswick & Partners in New York. [Or they could just be more open with their clients, and wouldn't have to worry about being secretive in their self reviews - duhh!]

“That’s fairly chilling,” Hayes said. “It would make many senior executives very cautious, if not guarded in what they say in evaluations. You’ll hinder the kind of dialogue that’s necessary.” Such evaluations are “a standard part of corporate America,” he said. [Again, why doesn't this guy say "It would make many senior executives very cautious, if not guarded in how they treat their clients"!!!!????? It's as if it is expected that GS will screw their clients, and the hurdle is how to conduct a review without getting busted for it!]

Senators used e-mails and self-evaluations produced by Goldman, which is being sued by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, to attack the firm. Goldman denies the charges.

Published in BoomBustBlog

A very interesting article was published in Crain's New York this morning, both in print and online, titled Prophet of doom. The article was about blogs, and the potential for them to raise capital and compete with the mainstream media. There's also a picture of a devilishly handsome, charismatic, and outright cute blogger there as well :mrgreen:

Here are a few excerpts, combined with my usual commentary...

  •  Mr. Middleton's Boom Bust Blog forecast with stunning accuracy the demise of such real estate bubble blowups as Bear Stearns and mall operator General Growth Properties... Now he's embarking on his next project: Turning his blogging hobby into a full-fledged investment research business, a firm where he says investors will get “realistic” insights as opposed to Wall Street puffery. Mr. Middleton plans to start petitioning venture capital firms, private equity players and established media companies in the coming weeks.
    • Yes, it's official. I'm going to start building the blog out into something much bigger, more in depth, and more accessible.
  • “His work is so detailed, so accurate, it's among the best in the world,” says Eric Sprott, CEO of Sprott Asset Management, a Toronto firm that manages about $5 billion and subscribes to Mr. Middleton's research. Well, thank you Mr. Sprott! I owe you a good bottle of wine for that one! For those that don't follow Eric Sprott's commentary (or his investment record), this accomplished man tells it like it is. He was just on CNBC and rang the closing bell last week.

     

  • Finding investors won't be easy, though. A few bloggers have landed backers recently, including Footnoted.org, acquired by investment research firm Morningstar, and Gothamist.com, by Cablevision. But most media concerns and venture capitalists have steered clear. Many blogs' revenues are scant, with few opportunities to grow and churn out the $10 million to $15 million in revenues that venture capitalists want. “The climate for blogs is almost always lousy,” says Roger Ehrenberg, founder of IA Capital Partners, which has invested in BlogTalkRadio and BusinessInsider.com.

Published in BoomBustBlog

 

I know I'll raise my hand to the aforementioned question. The issue is, as I huffed and puffed about how overvalued GS is, particularly considering the amount of risk that it faced, I got a lot of blow back. The same blow back I got in early 2008 when I shorted GS from $180 to $75 (see Reggie Middleton on Risk, Reward and Reputations on the Street: the Goldman Sachs Forensic Analysis). Well, I guess we can all see the risk that I was referring to, right???

When the Patina Fades... The Rise and Fall of Goldman Sachs??? Tuesday, 16 March 2010

I have warned my readers about following myths and legends versus reality and facts several times in the past, particularly as it applies to Goldman Sachs and what I have coined "Name Brand Investing". Very recent developments from Senator Kaufman of Delaware will be putting the spit-shined patina of Wall Street's most powerful bank to the test. Here is a link to the speech that the esteemed Senator from Delaware (yes, the most corporate friendly state in this country). A few excerpts to liven up your morning...

Reggie Middleton vs Goldman Sachs, Round 1Tuesday, 08 December 2009 and Reggie Middleton vs Goldman Sachs, Round 2 Sunday, 31 January 2010

On December 8th of last year, I penned "Reggie Middleton vs Goldman Sachs, Round 1"wherein I challenged all to take a critical look at exactly how much money was lost by Goldman Sachs' clients. Well, here comes round 2, which is directed at Goldman (over)valuation.

Published in BoomBustBlog
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 00:00

Newscan from the Weekend Past

Comments on global news from the weekend past...

Bloomberg.com:

  • $7.88 billion of slices underwritten by Deutsche Bank under downgrade review since underlying CMBS have been downgraded (CDOs are MAX CMBS I Ltd. Series 2007-1 and Series 2008-1), S&P has already downgraded 2007-1 to BB+
  • A BlackRock presentation stated that Deutsche Bank's CDO portfolio does not forecast for tranche losses
  • The MAX CDOs are among the Federal Reserve's holdings in Maiden Lane III
  • AIG provided Deutsche Bank with $5.61 billion in collateral before the Maiden Lane III transfer

FT Article: Merkel v. Greece Round 239,084.67 (Ding, ding) @ http://www.ft.com

  • Merkel insists Greece has not asked for money, and Greece does not need any [Let's permanently attached this to Merkel's credibility rating]
  • European Commission and IMF officials are far from same page as Merkel
  • The article wasn't dense with info, which is not unusual considering the subject matter, but what is clear is that the bazooka everyone was talking about has no trigger, and probably loaded with more baby powder than gunpowder!
  • That is going to be a big issue with Greek debt maturing in April if they have no revenue to pay it off

FT Article @ http://www.ft.com

  • British Airway strikes did nothing to dampen travel plans over the weekend
  • Examples like this are calling the union's bluff, they are not stopping society, potentially leaving room for union break ups by private companies, sovereigns and municipalities if they choose so, this could be a blip on the radar or an emerging trend, so something to continue to watch
Published in BoomBustBlog

I have warned my readers about following myths and legends versus reality and facts several times in the past, particularly as it applies to Goldman Sachs and what I have coined "Name Brand Investing". Very recent developments from Senator Kaufman of Delaware will be putting the spit-shined patina of Wall Street's most powerful bank to the test. Here is a link to the speech that the esteemed Senator from Delaware (yes, the most corporate friendly state in this country). A few excerpts to liven up your morning...

Mr. President, last Thursday, the bankruptcy examiner for Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. released a 2,200 page report about the demise of the firm which included riveting detail on the firm’s accounting practices. That report has put in sharp relief what many of us have expected all along: that fraud and potential criminal conduct were at the heart of the financial crisis.

... Only further investigation will determine whether the individuals involved can be indicted and convicted of criminal wrongdoing.

Published in BoomBustBlog

Some of the top secret AIG bailout info is out. Guess who's at the heart of it, making money by creating straight trash, selling it to its clients then buying insurance to benefit from its inevitable crash?
I have been warning about Goldman's ability to sell trash to its clients
for some time now.

This is not a short post, for it is packed with a lot of supporting information, analysis and data. If you are looking for quippy paragraph, soundbyte or quick headline to get an overview of,,, well whatever, click here, or better yet, click here. For everyone else who may be looking for deeper investigative analysis and the unbridled TRUTH for a change, please continue on.

First a little background info. Goldman is supremely overvalued in my opinion. It is even more so considering much of its profit is generated solely from the raping of its clients. I say this holding absolutely no ill will towards Goldman. This is strictly factual. Let's walk through the evidence, of profit potential, valuation, and the stuff behind some of the value drivers in their business model, like brokerage and investment banking...


Published in BoomBustBlog
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