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Waiting For Godot


After a few straight days of weakness in the US, Asian markets have basically adopted a wait and see stance. The underlying market sentiment indicates that most markets want to rally. I am not saying that these are terrible naive optimists, but your read markets and you call them as such. Its ripe for a bear market rally. Getting the rally done is no easy task as every now and then earnings disappointments will put a halt to it.

While attention has focused on Citigroup's likely $10 billion quarterly loss next week, we have had other bombs as well. Deutsche Bank's shares tumbled 12% after it expects to post a fourth-quarter loss of about €4.8 billion, or $6.33 billion, citing "exceptional market conditions." In Germany, Commerzbank fell 10% while Deutsche Postbank lost 15%. Swiss banks tracked the broader sector, with UBS shares falling 2.8% while Credit Suisse shed 6.4%. The news slammed the banking sector, which was already reeling from a Morgan Stanley note stating that Europe's largest bank, HSBC Holdings, may have to raise as much as $30 billion in capital and halve its dividend. HSBC slumped 8%, and Barclays followed, losing 6.8%. In Paris, shares of BNP fell 6.1% while Societe Generale stood 6% lower. Royal Bank of Scotland lost 4.5%.

Other key bellwether earnings reports due Thursday will be from JP Morgan, Intel and Genetech.

On the non earnings factor, Bernanke’s LSE speech was greeted as some comfort to be positive. The other comforting development was that Senate Majority leader Reid believes he has enough votes to get approval for the additional $350bn of the TARP.

On mainland China, the Shanghai Composite surged 3.5% to 1928.87. Earlier in the day, China revised its gross domestic product growth rate upward for 2007 to 13%, indicating it may have overtaken Germany as the world's third-largest economy. Crude oil prices rose 3% in electronic trade after Saudi Oil Minister Ali Naimi said the country would cut its February production by more than the target set by OPEC in December.

Certainly not an easy time to make money. But I can see Asian markets trying to decouple, albeit for probably a short period. Still its a dicey tug of war. I am of the view that Asian markets will rally harder when US and Europe put up some gains. If they continue to weaken, Asian markets are likely to be flat rather than following them south in this quarter. Not a particularly easy time.

p/s photo: Sandara Park

Comments

stoneman said…
Well I think that the Asian markets will be hit again. South Korean banks now have to borrow at almost 9-10%. In Malaysia I think the govt is still in denial. Wait till the MNCs retrench by the thousands.

The 'tsunami' is going to hit Asia. yes we are stronger than in 1997. But the US economy will pull all of us down with it.

Exports are going to be down in excess of 20% yoy from a relative growth perspective i.e. 20% growth yoy to no growth yoy.

Just look at the container rates from Asia/Europe and other routes. They are down by more than 80%. The shipping rates don't lie. Statistics can and do lie.

If Citi don't get their act right, it might be like AIG - trading at a dollar or two.
Jasonred79 said…
The Asian economies, are, overall, EXPORTERS... consumption demand falls in Europe and America will have a delay, but eventually, you are going to see our asian industries hit by MASSIVE revenue falls.

Worse, asian economies are acting as if keeping employment levels high will save them. ... There are always pros and cons to every choice. In this case, asian companies might find that they will emerge no longer as cost competetive compared to UK and america, as western companies will have emerged with SEVERELY slashed costs, whereas asian economies will be more expensive than before.

Overall, it is rather naive to think that the asian economies will emerge unscathed from a global economic slump.

Of COURSE the markets want to rally... everyone WANTS a rally... so everyone can all get rich together... Positive mindset, and all that, right?

Still... we are living in Malaysia, the most boleh country in the world... in the minds of our govt and rakyat, anyhow. hahaha. Our stock market is currently pretty much the strongest index in the world, based on the last 1 month performance...

Why does everyone keep saying we are stronger than in 1997? The only advantage we actually have is that we don't have huge margin calls on 10 times leverage, and we don't have short selling...

That lack of short selling is probably a good reason for our market falls to lag behind the rest of planet earth, actually...
solomon said…
While financials will have a beating in the world market, it is not a surprise anymore after seeing the downward fall in end of last year. It is a known thing.

The weaknesses last few days I believe is being sold down by big timers, in anticipation for a short rally next week. Technically, they wanted to see a lower of last low before they see cheers at the floors. Similarly, in oil market. Oh traders?? Why you want to disrupt the market....
now you get yr profit but some might lose their jobs...
hng said…
Local market slump tracking huge losses on Wall street; European market and other Asian Market, falling below 900pts. However, most bluechip still yet to trade at attractive price. Still difficult to find bargain bluechip that provide upside bias as most of them are trading at PE of 12-15x, premium than many regional stocks

US market enter into earning season with JP Morgan and Citibank expect to annonuce their result on Thur and Friday respectively. Renew concern on larger than expected loss on financial industry continue to weight down market sentiment and spreading globally. Jan feel-good effect diminishing totally

Locally, BNM meeting on 21 expect to cut interest rate further and local bank may again suffer squeeze in profit margin. Govt propose to cut electricity traffic and fear of another forex loss also sent TNB down. Another round of IPP negotiation again!
sopsky said…
hi dali,

Citi is down aggrssively these few days. As I seen in your shopping list, there isn't any US bank except AMMB. With such cheap in prices in the many big banks, Citi, BofA ..etc, the correction has lowered the risk by a big margin. With such low in prices, I wonder why you didn't attemp in looking at any although you did mention the banks are failing fasting than MAS not arriving on time.

Hope you can share on the potential buy of the banks. Thanks
Ivan said…
Anyone want buy Citi at US 2?
let us c whether bottom is there or not :D
Salvatore_Dali said…
was watching cnbc n tickled me pink when finally someone got the meaning of Waiting For Godot... its a deep heading... if u know the Samuel Beckett play, its two guys waiting for a guy named Godot but he never appears, its a 2 hour chat... the play is famous because nobodu knows who is Godot and what beckett meant... later even beckett refused to say what the real meaning was... hence a popular english lit essay question in university was "deconstruct waiting for godot"...

to me they are waiting for redemption...
stoneman said…
Citi is trading low at 3.36 as of 12 midnight GMT+8.

Ivan - Well USd2 is very close - maybe a couple more days unless the US govt stepped in again with another rescue attempt.

i think the Feds are firing blanks right now...jee do they know what they are doing?

Bank of America is below USd8 bucks unbelievable as it was more than 40.

The wiser men are saying - stay away from financials for the moment. It is like entering a black hole....

However when the market price reach almost depression level - ie 90% down from peak - then you can enter into the survivors[may not include Citi as it would have shrunk].

Goldman is down more than 70%. BAC more than 80%. Citi more than 90%.
Am waiting for Goldman to drop below USd50 which was the low in Nov 20th.

Oh ya wonder what will happen to those guys in GIC that bought Citi at USd30+ in Dec 07. The Singaporean gomen must be licking their pride now...ouch it hurts. Don't they ever study history?

Housing induced bubbles always take down the banks with them when they burst. And it will take a few years to recover...

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