Thursday, February 18, 2010

David Rosenberg On Bogus EPS Numbers and Buyer's Housing Market

Well it kills me to do it but once again I'm gonna have to largely borrow from a ZeroHedge post.  Blast those sons of guns, they have some jewels over there.  This time from David Rosenberg, in the WSJ and from Rosenberg's reports at Glusken Sheff.  Rosenberg tends to be on the pessimistic side and has taken some criticism for that, but the brokers and interested parties don't like "stick-in-the-muds" or party-poopers.  I don't deal in market timing, but I do tend to side with Rosenberg in his generally negative views on the market at this time (Mid-February 2010). So I'm just gonna break down in numerical fashion (but no order of priority or importance) the major points of the ZeroHedge post:

1.  Many S&P 500 companies probably "fudge" (lie about) their EPS numbers to the positive side (or "round" them up).  Rosenberg says "On average, it only takes $31,000 in quarterly net income to beat estimates by a penny, which can be handled easily by a tweak to inventory evaluation."
2.  The stats show that the recession statistically ended in June, but if you ask the average man on the street he still feels like there is a depression.
3.  People's attitudes on homeownership have drastically changed (especially homeownership viewed as an investment).  Only 3% of people surveyed in the famous University of Michigan survey see housing as a dependable investment right now.  Most baby-boomers only need about 1,800 square feet of housing, but they purchased more (bigger houses) during the housing boom (or bubble) thinking they would eventually sell it for a profit.
4.  The pressure to "walk away" from a house has very little to do with the ability to make mortgage payments.  People are slowly figuring out (a light bulb is popping on over their head) that the lender (bank) has to bear some of the cost of the risk when they (the bank) committed to the financing.  Often times private businesses "walk away" from real estate or mortgages on office space--nobody calls them "bums".
5.  The deflation cycle in real estate is not over.
6.  It will take years, not quarters, for housing demand to catch up with housing supply---and come into equilibrium or evenness.

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