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Why Is The Street So Bummed Out?

Why is the Street so bummed out about a report that Bank of America will be seeking more TARP money to cover losses in Merrill Lynch?

First there is the obvious expectation of higher losses, which implies higher losses at other firms that have made acquisitions.

But what's really killing Bank of America's stock is the realization that the TARP II terms are going to be far more onerous.

There has been speculation, for example, that Treasury will of course get preferred stock for their money, but at a higher coupon (9 percent and higher), and that they will likely force them to cut the common dividend, which is currently at $0.32. To what? Some think it could be as low as $0.01.

We'll know when they report earnings January 20th.

The implication is that the dividends of all the banks are under scrutiny, particularly if they take more money. Jamie Dimon said he was comfortable with JP Morgan's dividend of $0.38. That may change if he is forced to take more money.

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