You think Ben Bernanke's half-point rate cut can save housing, like the clowns at the National Association of Realtors claim? Then I invite you to take the briefest peak at the earnings release from Bear Stearns
As one of the biggest players in the whole mortgage slice-and-dice game, Bear had an awful lot to lose, and it's lost a lot already. For starters, net income dropped more than 60%. And it's because of those bad mortgage bets.
If you can look past the pathetic misdirection attempts in the press release's headlines, you'll see the meat of the mess. Net revenue in the fixed-income division -- where those mortgage bets show up -- dropped an incredible 88%. Luckily for holders of Bear shares, it made some big, partially off-setting gains in other areas, like institutional equities and global securities clearing.
Clearly, the housing bubble's ripples have swamped the exposed divisions at places like Bear, but also Lehman Brothers
The best place to retreat and refocus, then, appears to be those equities trading businesses and wealth management, and maybe, just maybe, a better climate for investment banking. But in order for that to provide the same high-octane growth that came with the mortgage-backed "securities" of the housing bubble, these big banks are going to need a little shake-and-bake in the stock markets -- say, the kind of thing that comes with a half-point rate cut.
At the time of publication, Seth Jayson, a top-10 CAPS player, had no positions in any company mentioned here. See his latest CAPS blog commentary here. View his stock holdings and Fool profile here. Fool rules are here.