A Fine Line Between Courage and Stupidity
A few nights ago you may recall a funny quote after the Bear Stearns deal was announced that an analyst made, it was "This is the crescendo of the crisis". I poked fun at the statement at the time and filed it away as a candidate for dumbest line of the year. Well apparently the same guy wants to enter more than one entry into the contest, and so he ramped up his hyperbole today. Check it out:
US financial crisis is over, says Punk Ziegel's Bove
March 20 (Reuters)
- The U.S. financial crisis is over but problems facing the economy are not, said Richard Bove, financial analyst with broker Punk Ziegel, adding that this was a "once in a generation" opportunity to buy bank stocks."I do, in fact, believe that the crisis is over. There will be more negative developments but they will be meaningless," Bove wrote in a note to clients."This comment sounds ridiculous given the conviction on the part of most commentators that the worst is yet to come; the extent of the decline is unknown; and that the length of the decline is similarly unclear," Bove wrote."An environment has been created that will pump profits into the American banking system," Bove said."Investors are so focused on the potential for loan losses and the flawed valuations created by an obscenely invalid accounting rule supported by a soporific SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) that they are missing this fact."
And thus Richard (Lets call him DICK) Bove takes a stand. I actually admire the guy, he has a position and he is putting it out there.
I guess I would give his call more weight if his commentary made any sense. The financial crisis is over, but the economy is still on the rocks? OK. Negative developments will be meaningless? All right. using the ultra lax SEC approved book cooking rules hides real profits? Whatever. I think Mr. Bove was on recreational drugs when he made these statements. I could spend all night on this hilarity, but I think you know why this call is foolish and wrong. Time will tell who is right, and who is dead.
Again, I cannot help but think back to the amazing steps the FED has done to throw money at this problem. This is getting a bit dicey as analysts like Bove are calling the bottom, but the bottom is based on more access to FED cash. There is only so much, but the street wants to believe the cash is indeed infinite. Moral Hazard again, as implied FED rescue form every problem is beginning to permeate the markets. Check out CIT today. This company has to tap its credit lines to stay afloat, and all the talk is about how if the company is in trouble, the FED will bail it out anyway. The floodgates are open.
The FED Cannot Spawn Qualified Borrowers
While helicopter cash drops and bank bailouts may be available to the FED, as far as I know they cannot clone humans or spawn good borrowers. Plus, cloning of humans is illegal in the USA, but who knows what special authority the FED has these days?
The problem facing the housing market right now (and filters into the mortgage paper, banks, etc you know the progression) is that HOMES ARE TOO EXPENSIVE. Prices must come down. Nothing can stop that now. Because risk has been severely mispriced, it is now going to swing the other way and become at least somewhat accurately priced. This headline sums up the FED dilemma all by itself:
Leery Lenders Demand More From Borrowers
Thursday March 20, 5:33 pm ET By Alan Zibel and J.W. Elphinstone, AP Business Writers
Banks Remain Wary of Home Loans; Lending Standards As Strict As They Were 20 Years Ago
And with that GAME OVER. The article tells the tale of mortgage insurers not accepting applications from basically all of the hot areas. California, Arizona, Florida, and Massachusetts are all blacklisted. This means that in order to qualify for a loan you will now need:
- With immaculate credit, you need 10% down
- With great credit you need 20% down
- With poor credit, you are going to need allot of help
So that's it, and that's all. Going forward, if these lending standards are kept, the housing market is finished for years. Even just 5% down, and good credit will end housing as a major driver of the economy. This is what the FED, Mr. Bove, and others simply do not get. The only way to reignite the housing market to to re institute liar loans, no doc no money down, negative amortizing ARMS, and the like. That will not happen. Prices can only rise with an ever expanding amount of buyers. New guidelines for Fannie an Freddie mortgages will only qualify a select few borrowers. And most with real cash and great credit will not be so dumb as to chase prices higher as they are falling.
So unless the FED can print enough cash to return the ultra lax lending that was the norm for years, I think we are in for more problems. Commercial loans are now JUST STARTING to go south, and residential loans are picking up the default pace at rates NEVER seen before in history. The FED can spawn dollars by the ton, but they cannot spawn qualified borrowers.
Have a good night.