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“You’re finished…When you’re down by half, people figure you can go down all the way. They’re going to push the market against you.” Vinny Mattone, When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management
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After opening higher last night, futures gave up all of their initial gains and sold off sharply as Asia opened for trading. Shortly after the European open, though, buyers stepped back in and futures have rebounded back to the flat line. Outside of the Credit Suisse/UBS arranged marriage by Swiss Bank regulators that was announced on Sunday afternoon, there really hasn’t been much in the way of market-moving news, and there are no economic reports on the US calendar. Regional banks have been rallying, but First Republic (FRC) is down sharply again after it had its second ratings downgrade in a week.
In the press conference on Sunday discussing the shotgun ‘merger’ between Credit Suisse and UBS, regulators and officials of the banks cited the turmoil in the US banking sector as the reason for Credit Suisse’s demise. There’s always a need for a scapegoat, but to blame regional US banks for Credit Suisse’s downfall is a stretch. For now, let’s put aside the fact that just last week Credit Suisse announced an $8 billion loss in its delayed annual report. The bank noted that “the group’s internal control over financial reporting was not effective,” and its auditor PriceWaterhouse Coopers gave the bank an ‘adverse opinion’ with respect to the accuracy of its financial statements. Well before the SVB failure, Credit Suisse was already a dirty shirt.
Just look at the stock price. From its peak of over $77 per ADR in 2007, Credit Suisse (CS) has been in a long downtrend. After bottoming at just under $19 in early 209, the share price quickly tripled over the last six to seven months, but the bounce was short-lived. By 2012, the share price was back below its Financial Crisis lows and in the ensuing years, any rally attempt quickly ended with a lower high followed by a lower low. The collapse of SVB and stresses on other US banks may very well have been the straw that broke Credit Suisse’s back, but if the bank had proper internal controls in the first place maybe it would have noticed the pile of hay on its back in the first place.
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