The Other Two Came Through Also; What The Hey?
Color me stunned, kind of.
After what I wrote a few days ago about Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase, and then my speculation on what might be coming from Citigroup and Bank of America, I can say I was stunned that Citigroup posted a $4.3 billion profit, and Bank of America posted a $3.2 billion profit. Seems the big time analysts were also surprised by the turnaround.
Of course, after the shock, it was time for a little bit of analysis, and when you start to break this down, you’re left wondering whether these gains are indicative of a turn or just the luck of the draw.
For instance, Citigroup’s figure includes finally closing the deal of selling Smith Barney to Morgan Stanley for around $6.7 billion. They don’t have a lot of other properties or businesses that they can keep selling to earn that kind of money, and seeing that it took a sale that large to affect a profit that it eclipsed makes you wonder.
Bank of America earned $5.3 billion in pretax gains by selling a portion of its stake in China Construction Bank, which helps to make their earnings seem suspect.
And both banks share something else also. Both were bailed out with the total for the two somewhere around $100 billion, and neither has paid any of it back to the government, unlike Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase. The CEO’s of both banks have also stated that they see tough times ahead for the rest of the year, and that can’t be good either.
The finance boys aren’t buying it either, as both companies had their stock price drop on Friday, unlike the growth Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase showed when they made their announcements.
I hate feeling the need to gloat at the problems of these two banks, but I just have this personal thing against both of them. Both, in my mind, were early in some of the credit card problems they put on consumers, way before other banks started following suit, and I’ve always thought those moves were questionable, sneaky, and greedy. Though I understand that, with this economy, the government felt the need to bail them out, in my opinion if either of these megaliths had failed I wouldn’t have blinked upon hearing it.
Enough of that. I know I questioned some things the other day and wondered whether I trusted what I saw, and with what I now know about the profits of Citigroup and Bank of America, I feel more confident in my instincts once again.