I have a hard time believing the incredible opportunity we have right now with the investment banks. They've been beaten up in the last week by Obama rhetoric, but the recent Supreme Court ruling guarantees that Obama's bluster couldn't possibly have any teeth behind it. That makes even this cynical trader believe that these stocks are a tremendous buy right here.
The Supreme Court's 5-4 decision in
in essence equated corporations with individuals in their rights for free speech, removing the limits of funding broadcast campaign ads from a 63-year-old law and overturning much of the 2002 McCain/Feingold bill. It will simply open the floodgates of special interest influence on elections, where money has proven itself to be the most crucial commodity to success.
This ruling couldn't have come at a better time for the investment banks. Deluged by resentment and the open attack of Obama, the largest banks, such as
and others can now confidently use their very deep pockets of profit to help ensure the election of representatives "favorably disposed" to their model of banking.
Their coffers are huge and without opposition. Goldman Sachs recently reported a $4.9 billion fourth-quarter bonanza, topping a $13.3 billion year in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression. In this new world of tightened belts, it's clear who will have the ability to form the
for the upcoming mid-term elections.
More than 80% of those profits, remember, come from their "sales and trading" divisions -- their proprietary accounts, with which the company leverages its investment banking relationships for favorable fees and the purchase and sale of fixed-income and equity issues at "inside" prices.
You and I don't get those advantages.
These are precisely the advantages that the Glass-Steagall act kept at bay, and precisely the separation of trading and capital market financing that once kept the securities firms and the investment banks apart.
The financial crisis we just experienced should have proven, once and for all, how much more dangerous and systemic these slanted playing fields can be. The fact that we were on the precipice of financial Armageddon is directly connected to the monopoly of leverage and risk heaped in only a few institutions -- the banks and the insurance companies particularly.
But we need not worry about seeing any change in the laws or a reversion to Glass-Steagall "light," as Obama and Paul Volcker have been suggesting.
This mid-term election will be dominated by candidates looking to mirror the results of Scott Brown in Massachusetts, an anti-Washington campaign dominated by quick and overwhelming financial resources -- the perfect candidate for the new money sure to pour in from the investment banks and drug companies.
I look for opportunities, and the banks look like great ones. Goldman Sachs is down from $178 on Jan. 7 to close at $150.90 Tuesday; Morgan Stanley is off from $33 to close Tuesday around $27. With the Supreme Court ruling behind them, both of these banks are assured of the same advantageous marketplace that booked record profits this year and for the future.
We secured the best government these guys can buy -- and the best policy to assure their continued success. I'm buying.
Dan Dicker has been a floor trader at the New York Mercantile Exchange with more than 20 years' experience. He is a licensed commodities trade adviser. Dan's recognized energy market expertise includes active trading in crude oil, natural gas, unleaded gasoline and heating oil futures contracts; fundamental analysis including supply and demand statistics (DOE, EIA), CFTC trade reportage, volume and open interest; technical analysis including trend analysis, stochastics, Bollinger Bands, Elliot Wave theory, bar and tick charting and Japanese candlesticks; and trading expertise in outright, intermarket and intramarket spreads and cracks.
Dan also designed and supervised the introduction of the new Nymex PJM electricity futures contract, launched in April 2003, which cleared more than 600,000 contracts last year alone. Its launch has been the basis of Nymex's resurgence in the clearing of power market contracts over the last three years.
Dan Dicker has appeared as an energy analyst since 2002 with all the major financial news networks. He has lent his expertise in hundreds of live radio and television broadcasts as an analyst of the oil markets on CNBC, Bloomberg US and UK and CNNfn. Dan is the author of many energy articles published in Nymex and other trade journals.
Dan obtained a bachelor of arts degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1982.