Are you still mired in the fiscal quicksand that many financial-services stocks have become? Charles Schwab
The leading discount broker posted healthy fourth-quarter results this morning. Net revenue climbed 23% to $1.345 billion. Earnings from continuing operations soared 36% to $0.26 a share.
Obviously, not every discounter is clicking its heels at the moment. E*Trade
Schwab is now watching over $1.4 trillion in client assets, a 17% boost over the past year. There are now 7 million brokerage accounts at Schwab, with its biggest gains coming in banking and retirement plan accounts.
Is Schwab completely invulnerable to the subprime meltdown? Not necessarily. The company originated $574 million in mortgages during the quarter. Schwab now has $3.3 billion in outstanding mortgage and home equity loans, a 44% increase year over year.
I'm not overly concerned about this. Mortgages are just a small fraction of Schwab's business, and the late push here feels more shrewd and opportunistic than troublesome. Just as Chimera Investment
The company is also growing its banking business at a time when consumers have been burned elsewhere. From the pathetic yields being offered at brick-and-mortar banks to the perceived risk in chasing yields at E*Trade, Schwab may appear to be at the wrong place, but it's there at the right time.
Well done, Chuck.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been trading exclusively through discount brokers since 1990, but he does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.