Recent asset sales by home builder Lennar and discount brokerage E*Trade Financial may not be the bar against which all other sales are set, but they at least form a few working parts of said bar. Lennar entered into a partnership with Morgan Stanley, selling about 11,000 home sites for $525 million, or about 40% of the original price of $1.3 billion. Last week, E*Trade announced a sale of $3 billion in CDO-type debt for about 27 cents on the dollar.
“Investors should be careful not to overreact to the pricing of the deal,” intoned analysts at Citigroup. Now, of course they shouldn’t “overreact,” but they ought to consider reacting. Like the recent acceptance of its own SIV assets by HSBC, any additional sale of these assets, regardless of how alike or unalike they are to what’s in other troubled portfolios, gives the market a better understanding of what others believe these pieces of paper are worth. So far, for the optimistic types, they’re not worth that much.