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Can Jefferies Repeat Bond Performance in 2013?

jefferies-and-cantor-fitzgerald-cut-at-standard-and-poorsJefferies Group (NYSE:$JEF) posted better than expected results for its fiscal fourth quarter that saw profits jump by 48% from last year to $71.6 million. Revenues increased by 37% to $760.6 million which is about $38 million more than analysts’ expectations. It should be noted that Q4-2011, from which the current results are being compared, was particularly tough for Jefferies in which its income, excluding extraordinary items, dropped by 38% from 2010 to $39 million. Although the current year-over-year increase in profits is 48% but sequentially, they are up a more modest 2.04%.

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This Dollar’s Not Fallin’

The world’s major central banks, along with the Federal Reserve have all announced some form of open-ended QE in a coordinated attempt to keep the world financial markets from imploding.  Aside from the fire hose the Fed is bringing we have all of these events as well:

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China Construction Bank’s Profit Runs Counter to Trends

One of the largest Chinese banks, China Construction Bank (CCB), a primary component of the Global X China Financials ETF (AMEX:$CHIX), and the country’s second biggest bank in terms of assets posted impressive results for the second quarter of the current year, with quarterly profits increasing by 20%. Net income also rose to $8.6 billion for the quarter, beating analysts’ estimate of$7.8 billion thus making it the 11th straight quarter where their profit growth rate exceeded 10%. However, the bank has warned that it might not continue at the current pace as the country’s economy slows down, causing a flight of speculative capital from the sector while it struggles with the “disappearance” of borrowers and macro-economic headwinds.

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Reports of Japan’s Death are Premature

In recent months it has been very fashionable to look at Japan’s demographics and level of public debt and conclude that the end is nigh.  All it will take is a little nudge and sayonara goes the once great Asian tiger.  The latest iteration of this story is that the strong yen is going to drive what is left of Japan’s export economy over a cliff.  This will send their trade deficit skyrocketing and then that will be the beginning of the end. 

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The Futility of Taming the Shadow Economy

Black money is that which is unaccounted for on balance sheets, tax returns or income statements.  Put differently it is the shadow economy that is not counted in official statistics, definitely has not been taxed at the point of sale or criminal in nature, be it drugs or arms running, ransom to kidnappers, bribes taken by politicians and officers, etc.  All of this will fall under the official term money laundering or tax evasion.

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Peter Pham is an author, international fund manager, and a registered financial director by the Cayman Monetary Authority (CIMA). In 2013 he published his first book entitled, The Big Trade: Simple Strategies for Maximum Market Returns. He currently manages the portfolio of a global hedge fund and runs an asset management company, Phoenix Capital.  (read more)

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