Bailout or no bailout, banks need to be profitable to survive. Bank of America has tremendous resources and connections to stay viable in the long term. But here are 10 good reasons to assume the BAC common stock will continue to fall through 2009 before the crisis abates.
#1 Bank of America also has a huge book of loans to homebuilders. It is time for at least a few to go bankrupt, this will be another severe dent in their portfolio. (Mish Shedlock quotes a minimum 7B+ in writeoffs coming)
#2 Bank of America must buy back $5B of auction rate securities. This is a cash transaction that takes away from their ability to lend in other areas, crimping income.
#3 Bank of America bought MBNA credit cards at the top of the market (2004). Thus Bank of America holds a very large exposure there to consumer spending decreases or increases in unemployment.
#4 In their distress with deteriorating loans, Freddie and Fannie have said that their top priority is to find recourse with fraudulent loans that have gone sour. If fraud is found, then the loan and the loss will be sent back to the originator. Until 2008, Countrywide originated over 25% of the countries loans.
#5 Countrywide has $25B in option arms still on the books that BofA is still liable for.
#6 Countrywide has $38B in debt outstanding. When Bank of America (BofA) took over Countrywide, BofA did not commit to guaranteeing the debt would be paid.
#7 When one of the Big Three automakers goes bankrupt, directly or indirectly this will mean at least a $5B hit to Bank of America
#8 Commercial Real Estate exposure is very significant
“Now what about financing of malls, retailers, office space, etc etc. A modest 10% writeoff across the board (highly likely IMO) would mean another $33 billion in writeoffs are coming from commercial real estate.”
#9 The sheer arrogence of the Merrill Lynch purchase at $26/share for a company about to go bankrupt.
#10 Bank of America has huge credit default swap counterparty risk
Bank of America currently holds over $1T in nominal credit default swaps. With deleveraging of hedge funds, parties that took the other side of their trades may not be able to pay out the insurance. In particular, if a party cannot payout on regarding a different CDS event, then the value of that party as an insurer of any other CDS contract becomes void. This could become a huge hole for BAC on many of their commercial loans.
What kind of opportunity is available for those interested in shorting the stock???
Assume a $124B market capitalization for the stock, referring to one year revenue based on 2007 revenue.
Subtract $5B writedown for homebuilder loans
Subtract $30B writedown in commercial real estate
Subtract $10B writedown of credit default swaps due to counterparty risk
Subtract $1B net writedown for auction rate securities
Subtract $5B writedown of Countrywide option ARMs
Subtract $5B writedown on prime mortgages from BAC legacy business
Subtract $1B from boomerang loans from Fannie and Freddie
Subtract $10B writedown to defease Countrywide and Merrill Lynch debt
Subtract $3B in credit card writedowns from legacy MBNA business
Subtract $5B writedown for commercial loans (industrial and especially automakers and their auto industry supply chain partners)
All of these negative events aside, within three years, Merrill Lynch and Countrywide will start to have a positive impact on earnings. But this year, we should expect the market cap of Bank of America ($124B cap) to absorb over $75B in writedowns and losses to net a market cap of $50B, which is approximately a fair value of $13/share.
Thus Lockstep Investing is recommending initiating a short position once Bank of America crosses $26 / share, exit when the stock crosses $12 / share.