KeyCorp, which has been hitting new lows recently, cut its dividend in half and plans to raise $1.5 billion in capital. The excuse here is an adverse court ruling on tax treatment, but no one is surprised, nor does anyone think they will be the last to cut dividends.
Analysts and technicians are understandably in despair over the wave of new lows in bank stocks. A Fox-Pitt banking analyst said this morning: "price action has failed to confirm any type of trend reversal thus far."
Also, late yesterday, Bernstein increased estimates for bank losses across most loan categories, including consumer and commercial loans.
1) Sign of the times: Senator Joseph Lieberman will propose that large institutional investors, including index funds, be banned from buying commodities, according to the New York Times. The hearing will be held June 24th. Not clear what this would cover: would it ban Commodity Index investing? ETFs? I presume not, but in this environment, we will have to wait for clarification.
2) InBev finally made the bid for Anheuser Busch : $65 per share, all cash, to be financed in the form of +$40 billion in debt and the sale of non-core assets (theme parks?). Remember, they are using Euros here...just like the hoards of tourists descending on New York buying up real estate and Tiffany baubles.
Next: can the Anheuser board generate a higher price, or convince everyone they can generate greater or equal value by staying independent? Given that the stock has jumped from $50 to $58 precisely on the takeover speculation, that is indeed a tall order.
3) Irish vote on the Euro/European Union today.
4) Citi closes down Old Lane hedge fund and take $9 billion on its balance sheet;
5) Quote of the day: Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis, speaking at the Deals and Deal Makers conference, said " we're not interested in using our petty cash to buy any investment banks." Smack.
6) Our Charlie Gasparino is reporting that Lehman CFO Erin Callan has resigned, along with COO Joseph Gregory; down 5 percent pre-open.
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