The FDIC as a Catalyst, or the New Doo Doo 32!

By: Reggie Middleton | Wed, Aug 26, 2009
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Yes, I am still bearish on the market. I try, and I try, but I still cannot find the fundamentals (or even the forward looking promise of the fundamentals) to justify the markets run up. What does that mean? Well, to me, it means the market will probably have to come down again, or earnings will have to skyrocket upwards. Since practically all earnings "beats" were off of dwindling revenues and were achieved through multiple lowered analyst expectations coupled with extensive cost cutting, this upcoming earnings season will not feature the same catalysts.

In the meantime, I have missed out on, and have disgorged some profits during, this historic bull run. It has been a traders market, not a stock pickers market - and I am a stock picker not a trader. I have instituted a market neutral strategy that basically allows me to hover while waiting for the next big catalyst. Since it is neutral, I will benefit from the catalyst pushing up or down. I think it will be down, but I have to hedge since I have admittedly underestimated the extent of this 5 month rally.

One area where I am very good at picking stocks, the financials, actually features an advocate that can act as a catalyst. While the accounting boards and the government collude in assisting the banks to hide losses, in an attempt to conceal failure until hopefully earnings pull them out of the hole, the FDIC comes in and actually closes failed banks and sells them off. I am looking at the pattern of this behavior and plan on using it to anticipate future bank closings, of which I anticipate there will be many more.

So what does a bank look like that is about to be closed by the FDIC? Well, here's a snapshot of recent failings of banks with over $1 billion in assets:

Texas ratio Cushion
(Reserve less NPA)
as % of
common equity
Recently failed banks
Alliance Bancshares California 129.2x 419% -1125%
Beverly Hills Bancorp Inc. 10.2x 45% -28%
BankUnited Financial Corporation 26.2x 130% -139%
Colonial BancGroup, Inc. 29.6x 84% -50%
Guaranty Bancorp 12.7x 44% -29%
Temecula Valley Bancorp Inc. 143.1x 256% -1092%
Vineyard National Bancorp negative equity 874% negative equity
Average 58.5x 265% -410%
Maximum 143.1x 874% -28%
Minimum 10.2x 44% -1125%

As you can see, the numbers are all of over the place, but there are a few common denominators which I will share with subscribers in the next major research release, as well as the list of banks that I feel are likely to be deemed a failure by one of our only true government advocates in realistic bank analysis, the FDIC.

Since I feel "Banks are actually worse off now than they were before" and the original Doo Doo 32 list was so prescient (many of the banks on the list no longer exist, or are trading in the single digits), I feel confident that the Doo Doo list - part two, will bear fruit. Don't get me wrong, I am far from a perma bear, but I really need the promise of earnings and value to justify going long, not just the fact that share prices have increased. For those that can remember, following momentum while blindly ignoring fundamentals was how everyone lost their shirt in the crash. Then again, that bubble was notoriously hard to short as well.



Reggie Middleton

Author: Reggie Middleton

Reggie Middleton

Reggie Middleton

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