Lehman Brothers Liquidation Looks Likely ~ market folly

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Lehman Brothers Liquidation Looks Likely

Undoubtedly, you already know this news. Lehman Brothers (LEH) will file for bankruptcy protection, as they couldn't seem to sell themselves this weekend. Additionally, Merill Lynch looks like it will be bought out by Bank of America for around $25-30 a share ($29 a share offer being voted on). Lastly, AIG will be restructuring. If you want more info on all this than you can handle, just head to any major financial publication, as the news is all over the place. I'm not here to regurgitate this news. Instead, I want to turn my focus to a way to possibly play this madness. In the event that LEH does liquidate, the following stocks will undoubtedly trade lower. Why, do you ask? Well, because they are some of LEH's top holdings.

The List

  • General Electric (GE)

  • Pfizer (PFE)

  • Target (TGT)

  • UBS (UBS)

  • Linn Energy (LINE)

  • GLG Partners (GLG)

  • Merck (MRK)

  • Microsoft (MSFT)

  • Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME)

  • Bank of America (BAC)

  • Apple (AAPL)

  • Flagstone Reinsurance (FSR)

  • Wellpoint (WLP)

  • Walmart (WMT)

  • Exxon Mobil (XOM)

  • United Health Group (UNH)

  • Google (GOOG)

  • Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)

  • Baidu (BIDU)

A few names from the list I want to highlight: Firstly, Bank of America (BAC) has been actively involved in all the talks this weekend and for all intensive purposes it looks as if they'll pick up Merrill Lynch (MER). I think the market sells off BAC simply because MER is not in the best of shape, and it looks like they'll be overpaying for the deal. If MER needs to be rescued, BAC could surely pick them up for much cheaper than where they're trading now. So, BAC could trade lower for this reason (along with the fact that oh yea, they've still got the whole Countrywide Mortgage mess to worry about). Then, if Lehman Brothers liquidates their BAC shares, you can guess where that name is headed: lower.

Secondly, as I wrote about here, Apple (AAPL) isn't looking too hot on the technicals right now. It looks about ready to really breakdown, since it hasn't responded well to support levels. If LEH needs to liquidate their large AAPL position, this only presents more headwinds for AAPL.

Thirdly, Walmart (WMT) appears on this list and I want to point this out for investors who have wanted to get in this name. If LEH liquidates its WMT position, this will present an opportunity for those who want to get long WMT on the thesis of the American consumer trading down for cheaper items, which WMT supplies. I've written about this thesis numerous times, notably here and here. So, watch that name for any major dips. Also, I'd throw Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) as a possible name to buy off of any LEH liquidation weakness. They are firing on all cylinders and their consumer staples line-up works well in this mess of an economy. Keep in mind though, that things undoubtedly will be crazy this week. So, don't rush out and do something stupid. And, if you feel the need, keep it small. There will undoubtedly be opportunities from this. But, this is a huge mess just waiting to unravel. Watch the Volatility Index (VIX), and watch for panic and capitulation. Special thanks to "The Fly" over at ibankcoin.com for posting up this list of LEH top holdings.

blog comments powered by Disqus