May 29, 2008

David Dreman recommends "gold-standard financials" for 2008

For 2008 I recommend holding on to these three gold-standard financials: Fannie Mae (37, FNM), Wachovia (35, WB ) and Bank of America (39, BAC ), as well as Washington Mutual (14, WM ) and CIT Group (22, CIT ). As the experience of the 1990s shows, they will have substantial upside once the current fright subsides.

I expect the market to likely end the year flat or down somewhat. A real bear market, which we can define as a 20% decline, is quite unlikely from here.

On the positive side: A recession is not likely. The financial panic will gradually ease as we move into 2008. Investors will crawl out of their fallout shelters. Remember that this is an election year, and the incumbent party will do what it takes to prime the pump. Increased federal spending and more Federal Reserve easing are givens. My high-quality financial stocks will soar once that becomes apparent. Just as they did in the early 1990s, banks will maintain fairly good yields on their assets while their funding costs go down. BofA earned $4.70 a share in precrisis 2006. I think it will earn $5.50 or more in postcrisis 2010.

~ David Dreman, "Tug of War," Forbes, February 11, 2008

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