FAIRFIELD, Conn. (
)-- The huge
rally of the last couple days has far less to do with comments by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D., Mass) Barney Frank, and more to do with the fact that the company appears to be slowly steadying itself.
GE shares rallied nearly 7% on Thursday and were up again on Friday morning. The obvious trigger for this was comments by Frank indicating the company might not need to be split up. Frank's comments led to an upgrade from Goldman Sachs, though as
Marek Fuchs notes, the bank raised its target price to only $15 from $13.
What drew far less attention, though, were reports from Bank of America and Deutsche Bank, which noted the Frank comments but left their recommendations unchanged at neutral and hold. They said the same thing Goldman did in its report, which is that, split-up or no, GE can expect a much tougher regulatory environment.
So in some ways it is ridiculous that GE shares should have rallied as much as they have in the past couple of days.
That said, GE was due for a rally.
That is because GE went a long way toward calming the nerves of many investors when it announced plans to stop relying on the U.S. government to back its debt issues via the Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program (TLGP).
In a June 29 report, Barclays Capital analyst Robert Cornell said access to funds following the expiration of the TLGP-backed debt in 2012 was the biggest area of uncertainty for GE .
The issue became critically important as a funding crisis at
underscored how heavily GE relied on the TLGP program.
Then, in a political master stroke, GE announced it would exit the program.
Indeed, having lobbied heavily to get into the program, and leaned on it just as heavily, GE had proved it had the government's backing in the largest and most important sense: like
Bank of America
and the other 15 banks on the government stress-test list, too big to fail.
GE's ability to wean itself off the government's assistance because of the market's sense that the assistance was always there, if needed, was a big deal. So was the company's ability to make it through its latest earnings call and GE Capital presentation without any analysts raising new concerns.
Couple that with the fact that the broader market has rallied, and a jump in GE shares was overdue. Frank may have lit the fuse, but there was a lot of drying kindling lying around.
Reported by Dan Freed in New York