We have previously explained why Jefferies, arguably the last standalone (despite its purchase by Leucadia a year ago) investment bank on Wall Street is so informative:
Jefferies is best known for among Wall Street shareholders is that, by still reporting a Nov. 30 fiscal year end, 1 month ahead of everyone else, it provides an invaluable glimpse into the fortunes of its Wall Street peers with a 4 week advance notice, especially when it comes to its bread and butter: fixed income trading (recall that CEO Rich Handler was a Drexel bond trader when the firm blew up).
And just like last quarter, earlier today Jefferies reported its earnings for the quarter ended February 28, which capture the trailing two-thirds of every other bank's first quarter period (those who now have a December 31 year end).
The result, just like last quarter, was a disaster and indicative of nothing short of a trading bloodbath on Wall Street in the past three months of trading. In fact, if this is what one should expect out of the larger Wall Street names in a few weeks when the big banks close the quarter, then it may be best to skip earnings season altogether... for the second quarter in a row.
The bottom line, and what everyone who is awaiting the latest FICC numbers from the balance of the banks will be focusing on, is the 56% drop in Q1 revenue from fixed-income trading, down to $126 million from $286 million a year ago.
Investment banking did not help either, plunging by 34% to $272 million from $414 million.
The only silver lining: equities did not plunge, and in fact posted a modest increase of 8% to $203 million. Now if only Jefferies could change its image from a middle market junk-bond specialist catering to the world's B2/B credits, to the New Paranormal's equity powerhouse all would be well.
The results in one chart.
And here is why Jefferies' fixed income trading suffered. It appears soaring volatility wasn't Dick Handler's friend.
The question is whether unlike last quarter, when Jefferies reported results in mid-December promptly followed by disappointing earnings and revenue and EPS misses at every single TBTF and other investment bank (as we warned then would happen), if this time is different and somehow everyone else succeeded where Jefferies failed?