Morgan Stanley's turnaround

Morgan Stanley should be commended for their earnings in the first quarter, even at a loss, but investors should still beware of Morgan Stanley.

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    In this 2011 file photo, a Morgan Stanley billboard is displayed in Times Square, New York. Morgan Stanley posted a loss in the first quarter of 2012, but the it still beat estimates.
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1.  Bank of America and Morgan Stanley earnings are "good".  There are some strange things going on with the DVA calculations and how they contribute/detract from the quarter, but this has been going on for months now and people on TV are talking about it so it is officially rendered a non-factor.

2.  Morgan Stanley (and James Gorman) in particular are to be commended for what they've done balance sheet-wise.  I still hate the stock, don't see why I'd want to be long it given the Dodd-Frank realities, low interest rates and the fact that any minute they're going to drop $10 billion on the rest of Smith Barney they don't already own.  Doubling down on a melting iceberg.

3.  Everyone just LOVES the American chemical stocks now.  They are the primary beneficiary of low nat gas prices (one of their biggest import costs).  The traders at my shop played DuPont ($DD), I didn't.  I think this will be a short-lived love affair as low costs are offset by slack final demand in the end.  Asian/European chemical companies are so screwed meanwhile - many of them are stuck with either crude oil or higher-priced local nat gas as their imputs.

4.  Ebay quarter was pretty impressive, I love the mobile payments story, thinking about building a list of my favorite plays in the space.  Ebay's PayPal sub is a big part of the story.

5.  If they get Qualcomm down closer to 60 I'll probably grab some.  I'm long a small amount from the low 50's since 2010.  I didn't see anything disappointing in the Q, guidance was cautious, not negative.

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