Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Earnings and Headlines 7/21/2010

  • Morgan Stanley had a great quarter! Seriously! I know, I can't believe it either (see yesterday's highly inaccurate prediction below.) The investment bank roared back into the big leagues with a second quarter profit of $1.96 billion, up from $149 million a year earlier. $514 million of that was related to the sale of its retail asset-management arm, but earnings on a continuing basis were still better than expected. Results in its new and improved asset management unit were boosted by the purchase of Smith Barney from Citi. CFO Ruth Porat stated that although the banking industry will undergo a period of intense scrutiny, the firm was not a target of a major investigation. So things are looking up including the stock price, which is up 8%. Now go sell your real estate arm while you have the chance.
  • BlackRock also had strong results, posting a near doubling in quarterly profit to $432 million. The surge in profits was attributed to the purchase of BGI last year. Seems like the thing to do to boost profits is go out and buy a money manager.
  • Wells Fargo posted a profit of $2.88 billion, higher than last year's $2.58 billion but on slightly lower revenues. Results were better than expected and the stock is up 5%.
  • The WSJ's quarterly housing report is out and shows a deteriorating housing market. It's nothing you didn't already know; pending sales down sharply after expiration of tax credit, new housing construction down, inventories up across the board. etc etc. But it has a nice city by city chart that makes you say things like "Wow, I'm glad I don't live in Detroit."
  • MBA purchase applications are actually up slightly, which may have something to do with mortgage interest rates being at their lowest levels in the history of the universe.

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