Finally, it’s worth looking at Jonathan Weil’s column from a week ago eviscerating Bank of America’s balance sheet (emphasis mine):
At $9.85 a share, down 26 percent this year, Bank of America finished yesterday with a market capitalization of $99.8 billion. That’s an astonishingly low 49 percent of the company’s $205.6 billion book value, or common shareholder equity, as of June 30. As far as the market is concerned, more than half of the company’s book value is bogus, due to overstated assets, understated liabilities, or some combination of the two.
That perception presents a dangerous situation for the world at large, not just the company’s direct stakeholders. The risk is that with the stock price this low, a further decline could feed on itself and spread contagion to other companies, regardless of the bank’s statement this week that it is “creating a fortress balance sheet.”
None of this, of course, means we’re heading for a crash, but it’s sure not helping anything. And it shows how insane it is to be playing around with something like the debt ceiling. Nobody knows what might happen.