This column was originally published on RealMoney on Nov. 9 at 11:14 a.m. EST. It's being republished as a bonus for TheStreet.com readers.
Dollar rocking. Equities finally having volatility. Bond market springing to life. Big auctions coming -- bond auctions, that is. Major massive international mergers and acquisitions. Incredible volumes on the exchanges in Chicago.
Don't you wish you had a horse in this race? Don't you wish that you could make money off of all of this activity -- newfound activity that is making the brokers huge money, and paying their employees gigantic bonuses?
I have two ways to do it. As usual, I like a dumbbell approach, best and worst with equal weights:
Goldman Sachs is the pure play; no one sees stuff better and clearer than Goldman. Its people are at the pulse of everything. If anything, the word around Wall Street is that Goldman's too powerful, that it has its fingers in everyone's pie.
I hear stories of people trying to buy Refco just to keep it from Flowers, which is regarded as a Goldman arm. Goldman has this fantastic multibillion-dollar vehicle that it plays this stuff with: the partners' capital. Consider it the most regulated hedge fund on earth. You have to own a piece of it, and you can, by buying GS stock.
Morgan, on the other hand, has been getting its head handed to it. The old management paid people millions to leave and millions not to leave. It might be a year before we even know the damage Phil Purcell did on his fated way out.
That's why the stock's at $53.
The pessimism here is so baked in that I have to believe the company will either be purchased by someone with a strong currency from Europe, or it will be turned around by surprisingly good quarters. Heaven knows, Morgan Stanley was so poorly run under Purcell that I think an empty suit -- like Purcell -- could do a better job than that suit, even if from
Syms, and he would be less antagonistic. But John Mack is anything but an empty suit. He is a tough, no-nonsense business man who doesn't like to lose.
His stock at $53 is a sign that he has lost. The game, however, has just begun.
I'd own them both.
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