Financial Stocks to Hit Bottom in October?

Posted by: Ben Steverman on August 29, 2008

By Emily Thornton

Could the worst news for financial stocks be over by October? That’s what veteran financial services analyst Guy Moszkowski at Merrill Lynch (MER) predicts. Below are excerpts from a recent conversation he had with BusinessWeek in which he shared his thinking:

October will probably be the bottom in the cycle. The only reason it wouldn’t be is if this recession lasts much longer than recessions in the past.

Since 1990, financial services stocks have bottomed in October during the industry’s troughs. There’s a reason for that. Right around that time, they are reporting their worst earnings for the cycle. It’s also when mutual funds are doing their tax loss selling. They make their capital distributions in the fourth quarter and that determines the capital gains tax that investors are going to have to pay. Mutual fund managers sell losers to realize losses and to offset whatever gains they have. They sell some of their big losers in October so the tax hit is limited. It happens every time.

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Businessweek’s Emily Thornton, Amy Feldman, Ben Levisohn, and Ben Steverman focus on matters great and small for investors, from the views of a hot fund manager to an explanation of the latest products devised by Wall Street’s rocket scientists. Exploring trends in any area, from bonds and stocks to closed-end funds and futures, always with an eye towards giving investors a better understanding of the sometimes confusing and often chaotic world of finance. Standard & Poor’s senior index analyst Howard Silverblatt will also provide his take on companies’ finances and the markets. Voted one of the “Top 100 Finance Blogs” in 2007.

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