Tuesday, November 13, 2007

E*Trade (ETRD) Who Ya Gonna Believe? My Money's On Bhatia

I swung by a few of the financial blogs. I can't believe how many folks are slamming Citi Analyst Bhatia for his analysis and comments.

In a statement provided to DealBook on Monday, E*Trade called Mr. Bhatia’s comments “irresponsible” and said the report could “unnecessarily damage customers, shareholders and employees.” Source

Commenters at MarketBeat:

My main complaint about the report - and I have personally been stunned by the size of ETFC’s mortgage portfolio - is that it was published when it was. Its holdings have been well known and the probable losses could have been calculated as of August when the mortgage market starting falling apart....Comment by analyst critic

no wonder individual investors have little faith in high paid wall street analysts. where was Bhatia months ago?Comment by mbloom

I hear Mr Bhatia relaxed by going to the movies this weekend, and yelled fire halfway through the movie, believing there was a 15% chance there might be a fire nearby.
Comment by
big joe - another wall street analyst

Analysts like Mr. Bhatia should consider another line of work.
Comment by Derrick Sweet-Chairman, Healthy Wealthy and Wise Corp

Thats just one blog. It's all over the internet. Bunch of morons.

"Although best known as an online stock brokerage, E*Trade also is a mortgage lender. Earlier this week, Citigroup analyst Prashant Bhatia, raised questions about the value of company's portfolio. "We view the lack of any new meaningful disclosures about the composition and quality of the $28 billion mortgage portfolio as concerning," Bhatia said. "In our view, what management is not saying speaks louder than what it is saying.""
Forbes 8-16-07

The stock had closed at $13.09.
Of course those slamming Bhatia can take comfort in this, from the same article:

In E*Trade's defense, Lehman Brothers analyst Roger Freeman said Thursday's selling may have been overblown. Calling E*Trade's liquidity "sound," Freeman said E*Trade is trading on speculation at this point, and we do not believe valuation is reflective of underlying fundamentals or even a reasonable downside scenario.