Thursday, May 21, 2009

Market and CAMELS

by Bill McBride on 5/21/2009 04:00:00 PM

Here are a couple of market graphs from Doug (the 2nd one is new - the mega bear quartet in real prices), and an excerpt from CFO Magazine How Healthy Is Your Bank?

There was a significant bond sell-off today - probably because of concerns about the UK (and US) credit ratings.

Click on graph for larger image in new window.

The first graph is from Doug Short of (financial planner): "Four Bad Bears".

Note that the Great Depression crash is based on the DOW; the three others are for the S&P 500.
Stock Market Crashes

Stock Market Crashes Dow S&P500 NASDAQ NikkeiThe second graph compares four significant bear markets: the Dow during the Great Depression, the NASDAQ, the Nikkei, and the current S&P 500.

This is inflation adjusted.

See Doug's: "The Mega-Bear Quartet 2000" for a dicussion.

Excerpt from CFO Magazine How Healthy Is Your Bank? (ht jb)
Evaluating a bank's health falls into two parts, says Mark J. Flannery, a finance professor at the University of Florida's Warrington College of Business Administration. One, how well capitalized is the bank — how much loss can it stand without failing? Two, what is the quality of its assets — how much loss risk is the bank exposed to?

In the FDIC's eyes, a well-capitalized bank has a ratio of Tier 1 capital to total risk-weighted assets of at least 6% (analysts prefer to see 8%); a ratio of total capital to total risk-weighted assets of at least 10%; and a Tier 1 leverage ratio of at least 5%. ...

The trouble is, the risk-based capital ratios "don't work very well," says Frederick Cannon, chief equity strategist at Keefe Bruyette Woods, specialists in financial services. That's because the risk weightings that the government uses are out of date. For example, a mortgage-backed security is weighted at 20%, meaning that it requires one-fifth the capital of whole loans. "But some of those securities have declined in value a lot more than the values of whole loans," says Cannon. The option ARM, which "proved to be an absolutely horrible product in terms of performance," is weighted at 50%; "in hindsight it probably should have been weighted at 200%," he says. As for the leverage ratio, "it doesn't pay any attention to the composition of assets and their risk," says Flannery.

Many investors no longer trust the regulatory ratios. ... An officially well-capitalized bank may have a dangerously thin TCE ratio. Take Citigroup. At the end of December, the $1.9 trillion (in assets) bank holding company had a Tier 1 ratio of 11.9%, a total capital ratio of 15.7%, and a leverage ratio of 6.1%. ... But its TCE ratio was just 1.5%. ...

But the TCE ratio is not infallible. Right before Washington Mutual failed, its TCE ratio was 7.8%. For regulators and analysts, TCE is one more metric in the tool kit. That tool kit is typically based on CAMELS, the supervisory rating system that looks at a bank's capital, asset quality, management, earnings, liquidity, and sensitivity to market risk (hence the acronym). Earnings are always important, but "these days it's more about the 'C' and the 'A,'" says Valentin.

The "A" is a growing source of discomfort as the recession drags on. With growth slowing and unemployment rising, a broad swath of consumer and business loans is beginning to sour. "Most of the banks that have failed to date have had significant early credit-cycle exposure — subprime, option-ARM, residential construction loans," says Cannon. "We're starting to see significant deterioration in midcycle credit: prime mortgages, home-equity loans, some nonresidential construction. And there's increasing concern about late-cycle credit instruments such as commercial real-estate mortgages and commercial loans."
It is all about asset quality right now.