So let's see, we have problems:
1) it's another beat-up-the-brokers day, let's take the estimates down (see below);
2) With the Fed out of the way, it is now all about second half earnings and guidance. Several important companies have been notably downbeat on their outlooks today:
--RIMM,one of the last darlings of momentum traders, down nearly 10 percent after their second quarter guidance is below analyst consensus;
--Oracleissued a conservative forecast that has got tech buffs worried that tech sales may be weaker than bulls expected,
--to illustrate how downbeat the Street is, Nikeis trading down, though they reiterated 2009 revenue growth targets "in the high single digit" percentages;
Back to brokers:
What is this, beat up on Merrill Lynch day? Yesterday I noted that the biggest fear on the Street was the lack of catalysts for owning stocks this summer, post-Fed announcement, particularly for financials. That fear is being born out by financial analysts today.
Start with Goldman Sachs cutting estimates on all the brokers. Your first reaction should be, "So? Everybody has!" And you would be right, but now we are entering a new period of one-upmanship (you can thank Meredith Whitney for this), where brokers are trying to get out ahead of the companies (and the rest of the Street) by taking numbers WAY DOWN.
Back to Goldman: remember they raised their view of brokers after the Bear Stearns debacle? Well, today they reduced their view (to Neutral from Attractive), "as we see limited near term catalysts."
They added Citi to the Conviction Sell List,because they see additional write-downs ($9 b for Q2), higher consumer provisions as a result of rapidly deteriorating consumer credit trends, and the potential for additional capital raises, dividend cuts, or asset sales. Anything else? Oh, they moved estimates to a loss of $0.75 from $0.25.
They cut estimates for Merrill too, estimating $4.2 b of Q2 write-downs, and lowered quarterly estimate to a loss of $2.00 from $0.25.
On top of that, Bernstein slashes estimates for Merrill to well below consensus as well: to a loss of $0.93 per share, down from a gain of $0.82 per share.
Nyah-nyah: Wachovia downgrades Goldman! Oh, they make apologies: it's the top name in the space, etc. etc. But the bottom line is "we see both banking and prime brokerage slowing as we enter slower months."
Get it? Fear of the summer, lack of catalysts. Bulls are now arguing that the Street is cutting second half numbers so much that there will be a rally when the numbers do not come in as bad as expected--but that, if it happens, is months away, and we have the summer to get through.
Questions? Comments? firstname.lastname@example.org