Tuesday, March 16, 2010

"Despite Recent Rise, Goldman Sachs Still Fetches Single Digit P/E" (GS)

Remember: the day (Feb. 5) that the bonuses for Blankfein and other top managers were announced, the stock closed at $154.16. Back on Dec. 4, 2009 with the stock closing at $167.24 we posted "Is This Why the Stock is Trending Down?: "Top Goldman Sachs Executives Are Likely to Receive Their Annual Bonuses in Stock " (GS)":
As the old traders used to say, "Well bought is half sold". Why take your bonus in stock valued at $200 if you can get a third more shares when it's priced at $150. I'm just sayin'...
Following up on March 5th's "Goldman Sachs Has A Strong Day" (GS) and "13F: Soros Dumps Solar and Potash, Buys Oil (and a bunch of other stuff) (GS; MON; POT; SOL)" on the third:
Of note: He sold his Goldman Sachs puts....
Here's Peridot Capitalist:
In recent weeks I have been accumulating shares of Goldman Sachs (GS) for my clients, more so now than any other time since I began managing money. In a market environment where over the course of a single year most stocks have gone from severely undervalued to fairly valued, it remains pretty easy to make the case that Goldman stock is undervalued, despite a $20 increase just recently.

Why is the stock still cheap? No doubt due to the negative press coming from both political and consumer circles. Somehow Goldman Sachs is being made out to be a bigger problem for our financial services economy than sub-prime mortgage lenders and insurance companies that chose to insure everything on the planet without ever setting aside any money to pay future claims. Goldman Sachs never gave out mortgages like candy on Halloween and although they did benefit from the AIG bailout (their claims were paid out 100 cents on the dollar after the government bailout) people should be mad at AIG and the government long before blaming Goldman Sachs for owning insurance policies.

The investment case for Goldman stock, however, does not really involve a political or moral viewpoint (many of us will disagree on those points anyway). The real issue from an investor standpoint is that Goldman is the best of breed investment bank in the world ( this was one of the key takeaways from the credit crisis, in my view anyway), has seen many of its competitors go out of business or dramatically scale back operations, and yet at around $170 per share the stock still trades for less than 10 times estimated 2010 earnings.

Why do I think such a valuation is too meager? Well, all we have to do is rewind the clock back to before the credit crisis and recall what the investment banking landscape looked like. Back when the Big 5 investment banks were still in existence (Goldman, Morgan, Merrill, Bear, and Lehman) there was often a valuation discrepancy. It is actually very interesting to revisit how these stocks used to be valued by the market. Ever since it finally went public back in 1999, Goldman typically fetched a premium to the group (they have always been seen as the cream of the crop). Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch were very diversified and strong global franchises, and therefore were close runners up while Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers were generally seen as less attractive, mainly due to an over-reliance on fixed income businesses for their revenues. They typically traded at a discount to Morgan and Merrill (about 10 times earnings versus 12 times) while Goldman often commanded a premium (15 times earnings or more)....MORE

HT: Market Talk who writes:

Forget The Bad Pub, The Vampire Squid’s A Buy

Just because Goldman Sachs’ (GS) reputation has been hit hard in recent months doesn’t mean its shares have taken the same sort of abuse.

Quite the opposite, in fact, as Goldman’s stock has enjoyed an 18% run-up throughout the last six weeks even as the firm’s rep has been under attack.

Goldman, famously dubbed the “Vampire Squid” by Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi, has often been criticized for its controversial role throughout the financial crisis. Recently it seems like Goldman has been bending over backward trying to preserve its reputation. The latest defense came last month from Lucas van Praag, Goldman’s head of corporate communications, who went into granular detail in a blog post rebutting a NY Times story that described the firm’s controversial relationship with AIG....

Here's the chart since March 1, down a buck-43 today, up $15.91 since that Mar. 3 post. From BigCharts: