After reading Bank of America's (BAC) and now Wachovia's (WB) earnings call transcripts my optimism for this year for financials is stronger than ever..
Investors have focused on mortgage write-downs. On the call, CEO Thompson address that:
"Golden West acquisition, we looked at the Golden West experience of the early 1990s. At that time, California had 10% unemployment and 20% house price depreciation, and charge-offs peaked in 1994 at 20 basis points. Based on our portfolio today, that 20-basis point peak would translate to about $250 million in charge-offs. Our expectations for the this year are that charge-offs will exceed that historical peak. But even if charge-offs reach three or four times that peak, our Pick-a-Pay portfolio will generate very meaningful bottom-line profits in 2008. And I do not believe that investors grasp that fact today."
Wachovia's second lien home equity portfolio of $32 billion has a delinquency rate that is one quarter as high as the industry and currently has a higher Tier 1 capital ratio at the end of the year than it did at September 30th. The balance sheet should be further enhanced as A.G. Edwards FDIC sweep deposits will also be coming onto their balance sheet over the first three quarters of the year.
They have $4.178 billion of the super senior ABS CDO exposures, hedged with financial guarantees, of which $2.2 billion is hedged with mono-lines and $2 billion with AA-rated financial companies with market caps in excess of $80 billion each.
The Dividend (currently an 8% yield):
Again Thompson "Will Wachovia cut its dividend? And the answer to that question is we have no plans to cut the dividend, because we don't need to cut the dividend. We are confident in our ability to meet our 2008 business plan and that plan, as we have said before, will generate cash earnings that will cover our dividend payments, continue to build necessary credit reserves, improve our capital ratios and support growth in our business lines."
Don Truslow - Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Risk Officer
"I hate to forecast just giving what's happening in the housing markets, but I mean I would not be surprised to see the same sort of pace that we have had in the last couple of quarters, for the next couple of quarters."
Wachovia is expecting to earn "in excess" of a dollar per share each quarter for about $4.12 a share total in 2008. The economic expectations they use for that prediction? "Overall, we are thinking it's going to be environment that has GDP growth of somewhere around 2%. We would expect it to be an environment with lower short-term rates and a steepening yield curve and that should be an environment, where can expect good net interest income growth driven by deposit loan growth, wider spreads and the dilution we have taken with the balance sheet."
Wachovia will hit the $4 a share in earnings and when the banks trade around the 12 to 14 times earnings they traditionally do, that equates to a price of $48 to $52 share or 40% to 50% higher than now. Oh yea.. buying today also gives you and 8% yield on your invested funds. Real nice..
Disclosure ("none" means no position): Long Wachovia, None
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