The brokerage reported a Q1 loss that was wider than the year-ago number. E*Trade lost 41 cents per share versus a loss of 20 cents per share in 2008. According to this source, that was a penny worse than what Wall Street was bracing itself for.
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Here are some highlights from this past week's earnings coverage from BloggingStocks:
- Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT) Q1 profit edged past expectations despite lower sales of Humira.
- AMR Corp. (NYSE: AMR) posted a smaller-than-expected Q1 loss, sending shares sharply higher.
- Baxter International Inc. (NYSE: BAX) reported better-than-expected Q1 earnings, sending share higher.
- BP (NYSE: BP) and other oil companies were downgraded due to higher environmental costs.
- Charles Schwab Corp. (NASDAQ: SCHW) Q1 earnings declined but still topped analysts' expectations.
- Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) said Q1 earnings would be lower due to a weaker dollar and lower oil prices.
"Some of the strongest financials in the world have lost 60%, 70%, even up to 90% or more of their value in the last year. Shares of Charles Schwab have come down too. But the stock has lost less than 50%, at its worst.
"Most of that has come since October. We had hoped the stock would bottom. But the stock continued to drop through support, meaning the downtrend is still in place. We may eventually see it go down by more than 50%.
E Trade Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: ETFC), which competes with TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation (NASDAQ: AMTD) and Charles Schwab (NASDAQ: SCHW), is doing splendidly today. As I write this, the stock is up well over 15%. But I would not touch this one with a ten-foot pole, as they say.
According to this article, E*Trade reported a quarterly loss on Tuesday of $0.50 per share. While that was a lot better than the $3.98 per-share loss reported in last year's Q4, it wasn't enough to beat expectations. Wall Street was hoping for a loss of $0.24 per share. E*Trade said in its press release that daily average revenue trades increased 18% and that 97,000 new accounts were captured. While both of those stats are impressive to a certain degree, an investor must keep in mind that E*Trade is a complicated story. The company really screwed itself by exposing its shareholders to so much financial risk; sure, that might be hindsight now, but it nevertheless is true. And with all the loan provisions and all the issues with the company's involvement with applying for the government's TARP initiative, etc., I can tell you that I absolutely would not want to play around with this stock.
Options Update: Capital liquidity providers volatility elevated into Madoff arrest (NDAQ, NYX, SCHW, AMTD)
Nasdaq (NASDAQ: NDAQ) closed at $23.80. Bernard Madoff of Bernard Madoff Investment Securities LLC, was arrested by Federal agents because his investment advisory business was a "giant Poinzi scheme" reports the Wall Street Journal. NDAQ January option implied volatility of 85 is above its 26-week average of 70 according to Track Data, suggesting larger price movement.
Option Update is provided by Stock Specialist Paul Foster of theflyonthewall.com
I have been posting so much bad news over the last couple of years that I thought it would be interesting to try something different for a change: look for something that's truly good. If I can find it, I'll tell you what the good news is, why it's important, and what it means for the rest of the world.
Charles Schwab, Chair of Charles Schwab Corp. (NASDAQ: SCHW) sees a bright future for stocks. He pins the blame for the current mess on a 2004 SEC ruling coupled with Alan Greenspan's lax attitude towards mortgage abuses. And he has some great career advice: do what you love.
The one down note in his interview in Fortune with Geoff Colvin, author of Talent is Overrated, is that Schwab claims his firm is in "great shape." But a look at the numbers tell a different story. Its stock is down 28% this year and it burned through $1.9 billion in cash through operations and investing in the quarter ending September 2008 (although it made a $304 million profit on $1.25 billion sales). Schwab is in relatively great shape but it is not without its challenges.
If there is definitely one stock to avoid these days, it's E*Trade (NASDAQ: ETFC). I went back and forth on it over the summer, wondering if it was worthy of a trade at certain points, but after the broker's Q3 earnings report, I just don't have any good feelings about it right now.
Total net revenue declined over 21% to $377.7 million. The net loss per share from continuing operations on a diluted basis plummeted over 300% to $0.60. E*Trade, as we all know, has been a victim of the whole financial debacle. It's provision for loan losses was $517.8 million in the third quarter. This compares to a provision of $186.5 million in the previous year's similar quarter.
E*Trade states in its release that it is trying to further reduce its exposure to risk and it's keen on shoring up the balance sheet. Good attitude, I suppose. Also, daily average revenue trades for Q3 were up 7%. But it doesn't mean anything. This was a terrible quarter. The data is both horrible and telling.
It's a simple proposition for me: stay far away from E*Trade. Sure, there will come a time when the stock might make for a good investment, but that's a long way off. Technically, the stock is weak. And the broker will be unwinding its exposure to the financial markets for a while.
"We continue to apply our value-oriented principles in selecting new growth stocks as we look for companies with superior profitability and strong balance sheets," says Jim Stack.
In his InvesTech Market Analyst, he and analyst Bruce Morison explain, "Our latest featured investment, Charles Schwab Corp. (NASDAQ: SCHW), is a prime example and stands out as a conservative way to access to opportunities in the battered financial group."
"We are increasing our equity allocation in stocks that should show strong relative performance in a market upturn.
"We continue, however, to be very selective in terms of quality, as well as downside risk. Over the past 20 years, brokerage/asset management firms have produced more than twice the return of the market following a bear market.
"The Charles Schwab brand is one of the most well-known and trusted names in the financial services industry. Its strategy is to be competitively priced, but more importantly to be positioned as the gold standard in client service and integrity.
Now eight large brokerage firms have settled with Auction Rate Securities (ARS) investors. This afternoon Bloomberg News reports Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) and Deutsche Bank settled with state regulators. Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. (NYSE: MER) announced another prong of its settlement earlier in the day.
What are the terms of the settlement for the latest two? Bloomberg writes that "Goldman will buy back $1.5 billion of the securities and pay a $22.5 million fine. Deutsche Bank will redeem $1 billion of debt and was fined $15 million." In addition to the rogues gallery of big ARS issuers who have yet to settle, investigators are targeting medium-sized brokers -- Charles Schwab (NYSE: SCHW), Fidelity Investments and E*Trade Financial Corp. (NYSE: ETFC).
This leaves major ARS issuers lagging behind their peers. Here are three holdouts (with their 2007 municipal ARS issuance in parentheses):
- Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) ($3.7 B)
- RBC Capital Markets ($1.2 B)
- Lehman Brothers (NYSE: LEH) ($1.1 B)
What are they waiting for?
It turns out that Charles Schwab (NASDAQ: SCHW) and TDAmeritrade (NASDAQ: AMTD) may have sold auction-rate securities by using misleading marketing about whether or not the instruments were "cash equivalents." According to The New York Times, the "point of sale" activity at the discount and retail brokerages is similar, they said, and some of the discount brokerage firms use financial advisers or may have improperly listed information on their websites.
Schwab argues that it was only an "agent" and did not slant the marketing of auction-rates one way or the other.
It is safe to predict that Andrew Cuomo, the New York State Attorney General, will get discount brokerage firms to buy the auction-rate paper back from their customers. Cuomo can probably find some marketing material where the nature of the securities was represented the wrong way.
But, Cuomo's actions have stepped over the line. In all probability, many discount brokerage customers bought the auction-rates on their PC without seeing any information about whether their liquidity could be undermined. Discount brokerage customer often do their own research.
Cuomo won't care. He won't try to find out which people got their auction-rates without being attracted to them by marketing. He will get the discount firms to buy all of the paper back. The companies do not want years of litigation.
Cuomo is running for governor, or perhaps the U.S. Senate. He does not have time to pause for such details.
Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at 247wallst.com.
Talk about an interesting day for E*Trade (NASDAQ: ETFC). The broker, a competitor of TD Ameritrade (NASDAQ: AMTD) and Charles Schwab (NASDAQ: SCHW), reported Q2 earnings on Tuesday after the market closed. E*Trade saw its stock close up on the day by almost 11% on better-than-average volume ahead of the press release. Then, after hours, the stock was down over 15% as investors digested the data. It was a wild ride indeed, and I'm glad I wasn't on it.
E*Trade saw its total net revenue decrease by 20% to around $532 million. The loss per share came in at 19 cents. According to this Reuters article, Wall Street was hoping the loss would only be 14 cents per share.
E*Trade isn't out of the woods yet, and I think it'll be a while before it fully turns itself around and recovers from the financial crisis it's been suffering. In fact, the release mentioned how the broker lost value on investments in preferred equities of Federal National Mortgage Association (NYSE: FNM) and Federal Home Loan Mortgage (NYSE: FRE) in July and that the liquidation of the investments will impact the third quarter. Yeah, I'm sure shareholders of E*Trade love to hear the names Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac thrown around in the earnings report. They're sure to warm the heart.
At one time, I thought E*Trade was worth entering, and it obviously might have been worth trading ahead of the earnings (if you were quick to get out before the after-hours, that is). Now, however, I'm reticent to put any new money to work in the financial sector. It's going to be a while before the financial malaise finally lifts. Since E*Trade is still losing a lot of money and missing estimates, I see no reason to allocate any investment funds here. The stock has become too speculative, and if you want to speculate, I'm sure you can find safer sectors to place some bets.
Disclosure: I don't own any company mentioned; positions can change at any time.
President Franklin Roosevelt was the first to attend an All-Star Game and throw out the first pitch, starting the tradition. He too had to deal with a poor economy and by the time he threw out that first ball the groundwork was being laid for World War II. President Bush has had to contend with his own war.
While there are differing views as to whether we should have gone into Iraq and whether we should stay or get out, this will always be viewed as George's war, fair or not. And the state of our economy in 2008 will also be viewed as George's economy, fair or not.
The ultimate irony for me is that Yankee Stadium is scheduled to be torn apart at the end of the season. This is YANKEE Stadium and the last president to set foot in it will be George W. Bush. The stadium with the greatest heritage in baseball, the 'House That Ruth Built', is going to be torn apart while our economy is also being torn apart. It is being torn out at its roots.
After hitting a one-year low of $17.41 in August, the stock hit a one-year high of $25.72 in December. SCHW opened this morning at $21.65. So far today the stock has hit a low of $21.42 and a high of $22.11. As of 1:20, SCHW is trading at $21.99, up 64 cents (3.0%). The chart for SCHW looks bullish and deteriorating slightly, while S&P gives the stock a bullish 4 Stars (out of 5) Buy rating.
For a bullish hedged play on this stock, I would consider a September bull-put credit spread below the $17.50 range. A bull-put credit spread is an options position that combines the purchase and sale of put options to hedge risk in case the stock doesn't do what you think but still leverage nice returns. For this particular trade, we will make a 9.9% return in just three months as long as SCHW is above $17.50 at September expiration. Schwab would have to fall by more than 20% before we would start to lose money. Learn more about this type of trade here.
SCHW hasn't been below $17.40 at all in the past year and has shown support around $21 recently. This trade could be risky if the company's earnings (due out in late July) disappoint, but even if that happens, that position could be protected by support the stock might find just above $18, where it bottomed out in the March and April.
Brent Archer is an options analyst and writer at Investors Observer.
DISCLOSURE: Mr. Archer owns and/or controls diversified portfolios of long and short stock and option positions that may include holdings in companies he writes about. At publication time, Brent neither owns nor controls positions in SCHW.
Here are some highlights from this past week's earnings coverage from BloggingStocks:
- Bear Stearns Cos. Inc. (NYSE: BSC) reported a profit that missed expectations by a penny.
- Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) posted higher profits in the first quarter, boosted by global gains.
- Charles Schwab Corp. (NASDAQ: SCHW) first-quarter earnings were in line with expectations.
- Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) posted a bigger-than-expected loss on further write-downs.
- Crocs Inc. (NASDAQ: CROX) lowered first-quarter guidance led the stock to a new 52-week low.
- Eaton Corp. (NYSE: ETN) beat first-quarter estimates due to strong demand overseas.
- Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD) posted better-than-expected first-quarter earnings.
- ITT Corp. (NYSE: ITT) raised its first-quarter and full-year earnings guidance.
- Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) reported better-than-expected first-quarter earnings.
- JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) beat expectations though first-quarter profits fell
- Merrill Lynch & Co. (NYSE: MER) posted a bigger-than-expected first-quarter loss due to write-downs.
- TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. (NASDAQ: AMTD) second-quarter EPS rose 35%, but revenue fell.
- U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB) beat first-quarter earnings expectations thought profits slipped.
- Wachovia Corp. (NYSE: WB) posted its first quarterly loss since 2001 and cut its dividend.
- Washington Mutual Inc. (NYSE: WM) swung to a first-quarter loss of more than $1 billion.
- Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC) beat expectations though first-quarter profits fell.
TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation (NASDAQ: AMTD) reported earnings for its second fiscal quarter yesterday, and they were pretty decent for the most part -- some might have thought that investors were completely shunning the market because of all the volatility going on, but TD Ameritrade's results show that a broker can still make money in such a challenging climate.
Even so, overall revenues declined 3% to $623 million. While transaction-based revenues also declined, it should be noted that average client trades per day did increase 23% to 312,000. That's an important measure when talking about brokers such as TD Ameritrade, or competitors such as E TRADE Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: ETFC) and The Charles Schwab Corporation (NASDAQ: SCHW). Earnings per share really shined, rising 35% to $0.31 per diluted share.
TD Ameritrade is sticking to its earnings guidance of a "midpoint forecast of $1.32." Of course, I'd like to see raised guidance, but a reaffirmation is certainly better than a reduction in guidance. Besides, I have to go back to the challenging climate concern -- if TD is happy to keep the forecast right now, then this is definitely positive. Investors would probably do well to at least investigate the brokers. When the economy snaps back, they should rally higher from these levels. TD Ameritrade, while not right up against a 52-week high, actually isn't that far from it, interestingly enough.
Disclosure: I don't own shares in any of the companies mentioned here; positions can change at any time.