NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- It almost feels like they could take away the police guard from the charging bull sculpture located on Broadway just below Wall Street.
But there are other, more powerful signs, suggesting a return to anything resembling pre-crisis Wall Street is hard to fathom.Investor pessimism about Wall Street hasn't changed even slightly since the stock market bottomed in March 2009. Both Morgan Stanley and Goldman trade at price-to-tangible book valuations that, according to a report this week from Bernstein Research analyst Brad Hintz, "were last seen during the depths of the financial crisis when both firms were at risk of failure." Equity trading volumes are another sign investor confidence is in the toilet. August volumes are headed toward the lowest monthly average since Sept. 2007, according to a report Wednesday from Sandler O'Neill analyst Richard Repetto. While this is partly a reflection of lower volatility, Repetto also makes a strong case that investor confidence is to blame. He points to the State Street Investor Confidence Index, which is at its lowest since Dec. 2008, and $16 billion in flows out of equity mutual funds so far in the quarter. "We suspect the lack of investor confidence is one of the key drivers of soft equity volumes," Repetto writes. Meanwhile, attacks on the banking industry are unrelenting, as Rochdale Securities analyst Dick Bove lamented in a research noted published Wednesday. "The drumbeat continues with banks and bankers being put under greater scrutiny than any other business possibly in the history of this country," Bove writes. And yet all the scrutiny seems to accomplished little, other than further gumming up the gears of the U.S. economy. I asked Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper what Coloradans are thinking about Wall Street and the banking industry these days. He said, "most people are pretty frustrated with the amount of regulation that seems to inhibit the ability of small banks to give loans and yet doesn't really -- what I hear from out here they feel that it hasn't sufficiently addressed issues surrounding Too Big to Fail and the excesses in some of the largest banks in this country." It's hard to believe things won't improve for the U.S. economy -- indeed, as I mentioned, there are many signs things are improving already. But it appears it won't be Wall Street that pulls us out of the mud. And maybe that's for the best. -- Written by Dan Freed in New York. Follow this writer on Twitter.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
24/7 market commentary from Jim Cramer and 20+ veteran Wall Street gurus. Get access to the latest trading ideas on stocks, options, and ETFs as well as a real-time forum to see the pros exchanging their investment ideas.
- Jim Cramer + 20 Wall Street pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Real-time trading forum
- Actionable trade ideas
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass + 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV