From Bank of America's Guy Moszkowski, who confirms our views that continuing subdued market participation (or as Guy calls it "market engagement") remains subdued, arguably due to the Bernanke Put which means stock market volatility is a thing of the past, at least until days in which war appears imminent.
Downgrading Citi and GS to Neutral. POs cut. Common denominator: expected weakness in Q1:11 results. Results unlikely to be dismal, and should show improvement over Q4, but we don’t expect seasonal improvement as strong as often seen in the past. Client engagement remains subdued, Mid-East turmoil likely only to further reduce customer risk appetite. Thus we are making significant cuts to our forecasts, and expect consensus to decline over the coming weeks. Increasingly, we believe investors will look to the theme of improving cash flow/return of capital via dividends/ buybacks, and also to play financials that are less–or even positively – affected by restrictions on banks such as Volcker Rules.