Bear Stearns: losses well beyond mortgages

The Bear looks seriously wounded this time.
clipped from online.wsj.com

Bear Stearns Cos.’ loss in the fourth quarter, the first in its 84-year history, is stoking concerns that the Wall Street firm’s troubles extend beyond the mortgage market and into once-steady money makers like the firm’s stock and asset-management divisions.

“The write-downs are less surprising and less disconcerting than what looks like a loss of franchise,” wrote Credit Suisse Group securities analyst Susan Roth Katzke in a research report, noting that revenue in equities, fixed-income, and clearing services all dropped significantly.

Overall, analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial had wildly underestimated Bear’s performance, reaching consensus expectations of a net loss of $1.79 a share, on net revenue of $625 million.

Revenue from fixed income, an area of historic strength for Bear, swung to a loss of $1.55 billion, down from $1.12 billion during the prior year.
In investment banking, revenue dropped 44%
In the clearing division, which includes prime brokerage services
a 17% dip
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