Monday, December 08, 2008

Heebner bullish on financials

Ken Heebner, manager of CGM Focus fund, is sure banks and insurers will recover this year, according to this WSJ story.

It looks like Heebner loaded up too early on the big banks beginning last fall and paid the price.

The story says he had a great year in '07, though, and Heebner is known as a shrewd stock picker.

Still, one wonders why these usually brilliant managers seem to jump in so early as soon as bad news begins to unfold. This is a chart of Citigroup vs. the SP 500 and EFA, from 12-1-07 thru 10-11-07, right before the big drops in bank stocks began last year. Note the clear underperformance of C versus the broad indexes. No reason to buy it then, imo. Sure, it looks like a possible base and a bottom, but the relative strength of C and other banks sucked.

Pensions lobby to cut funding requirements

Corps. are always looking for an excuse to cut pension funding. This is the latest effort/excuse. And run inflated return assumptions. Or, when all else fails, dump their pension obligations on us taxpayers.