The body is not even a corpse yet and the tug of war over UBS has begun. First UBS gets a tepid upgrade from Morgan Stanley to “equal-weight” from “underweight” and a raised price target on the stock. Morgan Stanley said much of the bad news that the investment bank had been concerned with regarding the stock “is now on the table.” But that’s like a doctor telling you they’ve found all your malignant tumors and so ”you’re better now”. Gotta luv ’em, but don’t trust the upgrade.Later, Lehman Brothers, which surely has different designs on the bleeding UBS, comes out and says:
UBS AG’s 22 percent gain this month in Swiss trading may be unwarranted as profit estimates for the bank may disappoint and any breakup of the business would take as much as three years
In three years UBS may very well be gone, crushed under the subprime basement.
All this jostling is just an everyman-for-himself panic as the bank which made the biggest bet at the worst possible time — and saw almost $38 billion of write downs and 25 billion francs of losses (the most by any bank) as a result — sees its remains publicly sifted through:
Swiss sustainable investment foundation Ethos has offered its qualified support for activist shareholder Olivant Advisers Limited’s proposal to break-up UBS AG.
And just in case you’re wondering, in this dog-eat-dog every-man-for-himself world, who is looking out for departing chairman Marcel Ospel? Don’t worry a pensioner has been collecting sympathy money for UBS AG on a village square, local press reported — but secured just 5 cents from passers-by.
Now that’s an opinion poll we can get behind.