Bull Bear Report Oct 29 2010

Nomura's U.S. drive still seeking traction

By kyle stock

Nomura Holdings said it will stick to its bullish U.S. hiring plan, even as it announced slumping earnings this morning.

In the past 18 months, the Japanese giant doubled its headcount in the Americas to 2,186. With growth in Europe and Asia as well, Nomura swelled headcount 7% to 27,429.

Business, however, did not keep pace, as revenue fell by 10% and the firm barely eked out a profit. A surging yen certainly didn't help Nomura's U.S. results, but neither did the resurgence of red, white and blue banks like Citi.

Revenue in global markets and investment banking fell by 18% from the year earlier period. And Nomura is still absent from the top 10 of U.S. league tables, even as boutiques like Lazard and Piper Jaffray move up the ranks.

Nomura Chief Kenichi Watanabe said the bank's international strategy is "gaining momentum." "In Asia and EMEA we have established a record of high profile deals, and our investment in the U.S. is already delivering results," he penned in the company's release this morning.

Despite the swagger, Watanabe and co. are showing restraint. Nomura set aside 13% less for compensation in the first six months of the company's fiscal year.

Write to Kyle Stock

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