It seems like Wall Street is a fairly upbeat place these days. Following a solid earnings report yesterday from Lehman Brothers
Revenue for the second quarter climbed 18%, to more than $1.5 billion. Both the capital markets and global clearing units grew the top line at a 15% clip, while wealth management came in with 21% revenue growth. Profitability also improved as non-compensation expenses grew only 10%. Net income for the quarter was 34% higher than in the year-ago period, and earnings-per-share growth clocked in at 29%.
The capital markets business was a bit of a mixed bag. Equities and investment banking were both quite strong, but fixed income was down a bit as the result of tougher conditions in the credit and mortgage businesses. Looking at global clearing, commission revenue was down a bit, but this was offset by higher customer margin debt balances (up 23%) and higher average short balances (up 7.5%). Last, but not least, wealth management benefited from increased activity and higher management and performance fees.
For the past year or so, the stock has been trading in a fairly tight trading range, as earnings growth has been a bit volatile. Nevertheless, this is a company that has grown earnings pretty respectably over the past decade. What's more, I think there are a few aspects to Bear Stearns that set it apart.
Though Bear Stearns is highly reliant upon fixed income, it has multiple businesses within that heading that generate ample revenue. What's more, it's not as highly dependent upon mortgages and high yield as are others. Better still, I like the company's clearing services business and its efforts to expand its potentially lucrative prime brokerage business.
Considering that Bear Stearns isn't trading at much of a premium to its expected future growth rate, the stock looks a little interesting here. Of course, if you're willing to pay up a bit, you could also look at Goldman Sachs
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Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).