ABN Amro’s IPO could prove sweetly timed

August 21, 2015

The Dutch bank’s second-quarter earnings doubled to 600 mln euros, justifying state zeal for a reprivatisation. ABN’s first sale may end up a third below the government’s in-price, like the UK’s selloff of RBS. But with the domestic economy firing, pressing ahead makes sense.

Apple has time on its side

July 21, 2015

The iPhone’s frenetic Chinese growth powered a 33 pct rise in revenue. Marginally softened forecasts for the next few months nevertheless knocked $50 bln off Apple’s value. Minimal information about Watch sales also disappointed. A little patience, however, will go a long way.

Goldman for once may miss mega-bank sprawl

July 16, 2015

Legal costs whacked the Wall Street firm’s Q2 earnings. More worrying was the far worse showing than rivals in fixed-income trading. Broader institutions such as Citi, BofA and JPMorgan gain a cushion from areas like treasury services. Goldman’s focus isn’t always an advantage.

BofA earnings best in years but tougher task ahead

July 15, 2015

The bank run by Brian Moynihan cranked out a second-quarter profit of $5 bln as costs hit their lowest level since 2008. Return on equity remains subpar, though. Without some one-off extras, BofA’s core earnings would need to rise almost 40 pct to beat its cost of capital.

Morgan Stanley rains on its own parade

January 20, 2015

The Wall Street firm was progressing nicely in the first nine months of 2014. A dismal fourth quarter, though, exposed cracks that boss James Gorman still needs to fix. Hitting a 10 pct ROE this year may be possible, but could require the Fed’s helping hand on capital return.

Volatility is the new weather for Citi and BofA

January 15, 2015

Both joined JPMorgan in blaming market ups and downs for hurting earnings. That’s rich after years of claiming conditions were too docile. Nor can it mask the deeper problem at the two banks. Even if traders do better and one-offs are stripped out, returns remain inadequate.

Jefferies closes annus horribilis on wicked downer

December 16, 2014

The Wall Street firm racked up a $93 mln fiscal Q4 loss. Boss Richard Handler says a senior banker’s messy public divorce had no material effect. Poor trading, a bum acquisition and one big bad debt took their toll. It’s a damaging concoction that should be limited to Jefferies.

Sky-high valuations no match for earnings reality

October 28, 2014

Investors knocked more than 10 pct, or well over $3 bln, off Twitter’s worth despite sales doubling. Blame the company’s overdone value multiples. Similar knocks to Amazon, Netflix, Pandora, Chipotle and Yelp show the danger when quarterly numbers can’t match a bullish story.

Credit Suisse’s future is mid-table drabness

October 23, 2014

The Swiss group’s investment bank trumped Wall Street in Q3. But it’s no longer a top-tier player in any standalone business line, and questions linger over its ability to maintain strong fixed income returns if rates rise. Muted expectations should apply to other divisions too.

Jamie Dimon returns to challenges old and new

October 14, 2014

JPMorgan’s boss is back after cancer treatment. But results missed estimates thanks to legal and other costs. The investment bank is punching below its weight. Cybersecurity is a growing worry. Even the timing of the bank’s earnings release was off. Dimon has his work cut out.