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Goldman's analysts added Knight to their "conviction buy" list, arguing "increased equity volatility will lead to higher average daily dollar volume traded, and wider spreads which increase pre-tax margins."
They also congratulate Knight's management for recently announced expense cuts, especially in the Asia Pacific equities area.
Knights gets additional praise for its shift to self-clearing--a development that should improve second half earnings, while "improvements in its burgeoning fixed income franchise and lower compensation costs," bode well for 2012, write Goldman's analysts.
Knight also has one of the highest buyback authorizations as a percentage of its market cap, according to Goldman's research. The 18% figure puts it in eighth place among financial companies in Goldman's coverage universe. The $13.50 price target represents 24% upside from Wednesday's close of $10.88 over the next 12 months.
Knight describes itself in its annual report as "a global financial services firm that provides access to the capital markets across multiple asset classes to a broad network of clients, including buy- and sell-side firms and corporations."