If you needed a sign that banks are becoming more confident on the finance biz, take a look at what analysts are saying about General Electric this morning. The clouds that have hung over the industrial conglomerate’s finance arm through the financial crisis, are starting to break up, say Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank. GE’s stock put on 4 percent on the comments before the market opened.
With support seen waning for regulatory reforms that would require such GE to dump its finance arm, Goldman boosted the bank’s rating on the GE stock to a “buy” from “neutral”. Deutsche was also upbeat. Both noted that allowing GE to keep the business would give it more strategic flexibility and Goldman had estimated that a forced break-up could cost GE equity holders $40 billion.
GE Capital is the biggest drag on the company, which is trying to wind the unit back to represent no more than 30 percent of earnings, down from half before the crisis. There is little doubt that government intervention elsewhere has been bitter medicine, even if it was seen as necessary to sustaining the financial system. Signs that politicians are releasing their supportive stranglehold on the sector, such as allowing TARP paybacks, are likely to be pointed to as signs of a broader recovery.