"The risk could be that brokers may not be able to execute forced liquidations in case of sharp declines in the overall stock market. It can be positive if they are using the funds to develop new businesses but negative for China’s financial market if they keep lending out for margin financing."
Standard Chartered’s new CEO Bill Winters thinks the bank is positioned well in "markets which will offer outstanding opportunities for decades to come", and while that may be true, the opportunities in those markets didn’t prove to be all that outstanding in the first half of the year, as the bank’s EM and commodities exposure contributed to a 44% decline in H1 profits and prompted a 50% dividend cut.
If yesterday's JPM results were largely a story of contracting trading revenues offset by a decline in expenses, then in many ways today's Bank of America results mimicked what Jamie Dimon did in the second quarter. Moments ago BofA reported that in a quarter in which it repurchased $775 million in stock, it generated $5.3 billion in net income, or $0.45 per share, above the $0.36 declining consensus estimate as a result of a $1.9 billion drop in non-interest expenses, even as FICC trading revenue tumbled just as it did for JPM and Jefferies, sliding 9% Y/Y, offset by a rise in equity trading courtesy of China.
Unlike previous quarters when JPM's earnings release was a jumble of legal addbacks, MBS charge offs and loan-loss reserve releases, this time it was positively tame by comparison.
"J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. has begun layoffs that are expected to total more than 5,000 by next year, people familiar with the matter said. This latest phase of cuts started earlier this year and would eliminate at least 2% of the bank’s workforce over the next year," WSJ reports.
“The new normal for the Chinese economy and banking sector includes sluggish growth and persistent credit deterioration,” one analyst tells Bloomberg. China's largest banks are seeing loans tied to manufacturing and other sectors sour which is cutting into profitability just as rate cuts squeeze NIM margins.
- Israelis vote as 'King Bibi's' reign hangs in the balance (Reuters), Factbox: Main candidates in Israel's election (Reuters)
- Iran Can Add Million Barrels a Day of Oil If Sanctions Halt (BBG)
- Kremlin rules out handing back Crimea to Ukraine (Reuters)
- Saudi Arabia Needs More Oil to Feed Local Refinery Expansion (BBG)
- How Lafarge’s CEO Went From Holcim Merger Architect to Obstacle (BBG)
- When Yellen Gets Less Predictable She’s Getting Back to Normal (BBG)
- Iran nuclear talks intensify as sides face tough issues (Reuters)
- Debunking $1.4 Trillion Europe Debt Myth in Post-Heta Age (BBG)
"Much of the money for buybacks and higher dividends is coming from the banks issuing preferred shares. To investors they look a lot like bonds that pay interest. But for regulators, preferred shares serve as a cushion against any future losses, in part because they never have to be repaid," Reuters notes, suggesting TBTFs are effectively robbing Peter to pay Paul.
"By lowering the cost of borrowing, QE has lowered the risk of default. This has led to overcapacity (see highly leveraged shale companies). Overcapacity leads to deflation. With QE, are central banks manufacturing what they are trying to defeat?"
The Ultimate "Easy Money Paradox": How The ECB's Previous Actions Are Assuring The Failure Of Its Current ActionsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/22/2015 18:35 -0400
The problem, as several sources told Reuters last week, is that there simply aren’t a lot of willing sellers. Ironically, the ECB’s own policy maneuvers are ultimately responsible for creating this situation. That is, the fallout from previous forays into ultra accommodative monetary policy is now hampering the implementation of quantitative easing - call it the ultimate easy money paradox.
A current Bank of America employee has made a number of whistleblower submissions to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission about the role played by the U.S. banking subsidiary in financing dividend-arbitrage trades: trades which used taxpayer-backed funds to allow hedge funds to avoid paying taxes. The employee’s submissions allege that Bank of America’s London-based Merrill Lynch International unit has extended “extreme levels of BANA leverage” to fund “increasingly aggressive and reckless” tax-avoidance trades. The submissions said the practices risked causing the bank “serious financial and reputational damage.”
Following disappointing results from JPM and Wells Fargo yesterday, it was Bank of America's turn to "surprise" investors with its disclosure just how bad its quarter was. And with the bank reporting a 50% collapse in its sales and trading from Q3, down $600 million from a year ago to just $1.7 billion in Q4, it should come as no surprise that the bank just reported Net Income, before the usual spate of amusing addbacks, of $0.25 well below the $0.31 expected. And while one may argue whether ot not BofA's EPS deserve non-GAAP adbacks, it was the Revenue of $18.96 billion, which missed expectations of $21.03 billion by over $2 billion (!) and down $2.7 billion from a year ago, that was truly a showstropper and shows that without the Fed's visible hand manipulating markets every day, banks are a ticking time bomb just waiting to blow.
Looks like the Jefferies earnings harbinger were right, because with another quarter down, and here is another painful report by JPM, which just launched the Q4 earnings season for financials with a miss on both the top and bottom line, reporting $1.19 in EPS, well below the $1.32 consensus, and just barely above the lower estimate of $1.16. This was a decline from both the previous quarter (by 17 cents) and from a year ago (by 11 cents). Revenues missed as well, with JPM reporting $23.552 billion in top line, a decline of $560 million from a year ago ($1.6 billion lower than Q3), and below the $24.0 billion consensus. And while JPM's latest recurring, non-one time "one-time, non-recurring" charge came as a surprise to most (although how over $30 billion in legal charges can be considered one-time is beyond us), at the same time JPM once again resorted to the oldest trick in the book, taking the benefit of some $704 million in loan loss reserve releases, nearly offsetting the entire negative impact of the legal charge.
Fear Of "Surge In Debt Defaults, Business Failures And Job Losses" Means Many More Chinese Rate CutsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/23/2014 11:40 -0400
The PBOC, which cut rates for the first time in two years on Friday, will have its work cut out for it. And in the worst tradition of "developed world" banks, Beijing will now have no choice but to double down on the very same bad policies that got it into its current unstable equilibrium, and proceeds with a full-blown policy flip-flop, leading to a full easing cycle that reignites the bad-debt surge once more. And sure enough, today Reuters reports citing "unnamed sources involved in policy-making" (supposedly different sources than the unnamed sources Reuters uses to float trial balloons used by the ECB and the BOJ), that "China's leadership and central bank are ready to cut interest rates again and also loosen lending restrictions" due to concerns deflation "could trigger a surge in debt defaults, business failures and job losses, said sources involved in policy-making." In other words, China has once again looked into the abyss once... and decided to dig a little more.