Interest Rate Roundup

Thursday, January 03, 2008

BBBY takes a bath; Regions caughs up a loan loss hairball

Some more evidence of housing/mortgage/banking/economic weakness in the after-hours ...

* Bed Bath & Beyond announced the first quarterly drop in earnings in at least 15 years. Q3 net income dipped to $138.2 million from $142.4 million. The company also forecast full-year profit of up to $2.11 per share, below the $2.19 per share that analysts were looking for. BBBY is the biggest home furnishings retailer in the U.S.

* Meanwhile, the profit warning parade from the super-regional banks continues. Tonight, it was Regions Financial's turn to 'fess up. The Alabama-based bank (and the nation's 17th-largest by assets as of Q2 per American Banker) said it will boost its loan loss provision to $360 million in Q4 from $90 million in Q3. Yes, that means things are so bad the bank had to quadruple its provision in just one quarter.

In announcing the charges, Regions' CEO said: "We are experiencing a sharp slowdown in real estate demand, especially in parts of Florida and Georgia, and are responding aggressively to counter its effects ... We are closely monitoring the impact of the declines in housing demand and values on our borrowers and are acting quickly to address current areas of weakness."


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