Tuesday, June 18, 3:04 PM
Rising interest rates should be good for bank (XLF) income statements, but maybe bad for bank balance sheets, opines Fitch. Higher long rates mean wider margins which is good for earnings, but securities backing bank capital levels have large unrealized gains attached - gains which could disappear and turn into losses as rates rise. Basel III rules, of course, have yet to be finalized so the ultimate impact is not yet clear.
Monday, June 17, 8:26 AM
"Higher rates without meaningful economic growth are bad for banks (XLF), says FBR's Paul Miller, making a counterpoint to last week's line of bank executives welcoming the recent increase in interest rates. KBW's Chris Mutascio is also skeptical, noting short-term rates driving loan pricing could stay flat while assets pegged to long-term yields lose value.
Friday, May 31, 3:21 PM
Large-cap banks are poised for multiple expansion, says Sterne Agee, as discussions with managements along with data points from recent investor presentations suggest business in Q2 is doing better than expectations. The team is recommending a basket of C, JPM, MS, and GS. In a similar vein, they like a basket of "discounted regionals" - PNC, MTB, RF, USB, and STI.
Thursday, May 30, 11:36 AM
"The smartest people in banking want to be bankers again," says Cramer, pointing to the recent IPO of Customers Bancorp (CUBI), led by CEO Jay Sidhu. Sidhu previously built Sovereign Bank into one of the country's largest before flipping it to Santander. He says financials (XLF +1%) are the market's most undervalued group and set to "make fortunes" as long rates head up. Deep-value investor Richard Pzena agrees.
Tuesday, May 28, 11:06 AM
Can't make this stuff up. Moody's upgrades its outlook on the U.S. banking system (XLF) to Stable from Negative, citing "continued improvement in the operating environment and reduced downside risks to the banks from a faltering economy." The outlook had been Negative since 2008.
Tuesday, May 21, 8:49 AM
Exponential rapidly rising or falling markets usually go further than you think, but they do not correct by going sideways," is #4 of Bob Farrell's "Market Rules to Remember." Channeling that, BAML's Steve Suttmeier sees stocks continuing their run with risks of a topping-out not arriving unti late summer. He's most bullish on industrials (XLI) - particularly "oversold" EXPD, DE, CAT, FDX - and also thinks financials (XLF) will remain market leaders.
Friday, May 17, 5:56 AM
UBS upgrades global financials to Overweight from Underweight on a healing global economy, rebuilt capital, and the sector's shift "from being a net issuer to a net distributor of cash." Furthermore, the U.S. banking sector (XLF) is taken to Overweight as balance sheet strength and attractive valuations play well with the housing market recovery to create compelling opportunities. European banks (EUFN) are lifted to Neutral "with a preference towards Nordic and U.K. banks." Financials respond in London with LLoyds Banking Group (LYG) +2.3%, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) +3.3%, and Barclays (BCS) up 0.5%.
6 Comments[Financials, Global & FX]
Wednesday, May 15, 7:54 AM
"You're getting cost cuts as a means of sustaining performance and that's not a great sign," says analyst Simon Maughan. "What HSBC (HBC) is showing you (job cuts earlier) is that there is very little growth in the banking industry (XLF) for years to come." CEO Stuart Gulliver notes HSBC has met its savings target, but hasn't met a goal to reduce costs as a percentage of revenue because revenue hasn't grown.
Wednesday, April 24, 3:58 PM
Richard Pzena (PZN) - still heavily overweight financials (XLF) and mature tech (XLK) - makes his case for global banks in today's earnings call (transcript): With capital levels of 11-13% at JPM, C, and BCS double what they were pre-crisis, will regulators allow banks to earn a decent return on said capital? A definite "yes," says Pzena, seeing no reason demand for financial products won't continue to grow faster than GDP, and noting bank managers' "laser-like focus" on improving returns. An average price-to-book ratio of 0.7x combined with a modest ROE of 12-13% suggests fair value more than double current prices.
Comment![Financials, Tech, Quick Ideas]
Thursday, April 18, 7:37 AM
Coming alongside a rise in lender earnings are calls for tougher regulation, including even more stringent capital requirements. Bank profits have thrived the past few years even with all the new rules, but maybe at the expense of economic growth. "The government aimed a Stinger missile at the banking industry and missed and hit the consumer as well," says Dick Bove. The XLF has about matched the S&P's 120% rise since the March 2009 bottom.
Monday, April 15, 12:28 PM
The Brown/Vitter bill being rolled out in Congress is essentially Armageddon to the TBTF banks, says Goldman, seeing it as mandating another $1.1T in equity for the banking system. Banks would need 12 years of earnings to build this amount organically, though the bill would give just 5 - say goodbye to lending. Break up the banks? BAC, C, JPM, and WFC all have multiple divisions with more than $400M in assets - the level at which the bill gets tough on lenders.
Monday, April 15, 11:24 AM
A 2.5% move up in Citigroup following earnings is allowing the banks (XLF) to tread water or even move higher in an otherwise bright red tape. Leading the S&P on the downside is the resources sector, XLE -2.9%, XLB -2.5%. S&P 500 (SPY) -0.7%.
Friday, April 12, 12:09 PM
"Expect more pronounced slowing" in mortgage banking and loan demand, says Sterne Agee's Todd Hagerman after this morning's earnings from Wells Fargo and JPMorgan. Mortgage banking income fell as expected, but both banks reported slowing application volumes as well, suggesting future cuts to earnings estimates. XLF -0.8%.
Wednesday, April 10, 3:59 PM
In comments with potential implications for the banking sector, CLSA analyst Mike Mayo says he sees a rebirth of shareholder rights in the sector with institutional investors taking control of their ownership stake. A "country club sort of attitude" has been prevalent for too long among bank boards, with directors getting fired one out of 3,000 times, Mayo says. (video)
Tuesday, April 9, 6:43 PM
A Goldman Sachs note helps explain some of the recent weakness in big bank stocks and adds a warning signal: Banks that gain more than 10% in Q1 usually give back nearly all those profits in Q2 when future earnings estimates begin falling. Goldman's top concern heading into Q1 earnings is that "lackluster fundamentals could lead to a negative EPS revision cycle (which has been the trend the past few years)."
5 Comments[Financials, Quick Ideas]
Tuesday, April 9, 9:48 AM
JPMorgan Chase (JPM) will lead big U.S. banks in job cuts with 17K expected through 2014, according to Bloomberg, after the six largest U.S. banks announced cuts to 1.8%, or 21K positions, during Q1. The housing rebound means many of the cuts will come in foreclosure units. Banks may tell more about their personnel plans starting this Friday when JPM and Wells Fargo (WFC) report Q1 results.