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Jefferies – Feeling the Love, Again

April 4, 2017

[Photo:  by Lindsey Kupfer / NYPost PageSix]


Wall Street has always been like an accordian - moving up then down, and in then out. In favor then out of favor. While times have changed, dynamics have not. This posting reflects upon the swings in the market and the effects they have on market participants. We encourage our readers to read this post and continue with the linked story. 


One year ago, a 3/23/16 WSJournal article entitled, “The New Leucadia Is No Longer Lovable,” told the cautionary tale of a quirky but beloved conglomerate that acquired a largely unloved investment bank.


WHAT HAPPENED (According to the WSJournal).    Leucadia National, whose shares had compounded at 19% a year from 1979 to 2012, agreed to buy the 70% of Jefferies Group it didn’t already own. At the time, Jefferies, a scrappy broker known for its high-yield bond and stock-trading businesses, was suffering one of its periodic beatings by investors.


However, since the deal closed, Leucadia’s shares had fallen 39% and were down nearly 50% [in mid March 2016] to near their 2009 financial-crisis low. The WSJournal attributed some of the decline to bad decisions and poor performance by the company, and to lousy markets for investment bank.


But the WSJournal also attributed the decline in share price to selling by many of Leucadia’s longtime shareholders for the reason that "it isn’t the old Leucadia anymore."


The WSJournal closed by saying, "Unless investors fall back in love with investment banks like Jefferies, there are few reasons to believe the new Leucadia will capture its old glory anytime soon."


Today, in a letter to clients and employees, Jefferies CEO Rich Handler and President Brian Friedman are pleased to announce that Jefferies is, once again, a ‘lovable’ company. Over the past year, Jefferies and virtually all of its other businesses have performed well, and Leucadia’s stock is up over 60%.


Yet, Messieurs Handler and Friedman are not using the letter to gloat or declare a victory - because they and their employees all have much more work to do, and because things can change again in an instant. And the point is not to complain about the media who love a good (i.e., negative) story. 


No, the point of the letter is to share their thoughts on the mood swings of operating in a volatile world because, as they see it, the only thing for certain is that these sudden and severe swings will remain the norm and not the exception.


[Click below link to read the Letter.]