Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Physician, reveal thyself!

(Did Ken Lewis get a CC: on this? - AM)

By Lynn Thomasson
Feb. 11 (Bloomberg)

The U.S. Treasury’s bank-rescue plan won’t repair the financial system or revive credit markets, Bank of America Corp. strategist Richard Bernstein said as he recommended avoiding the industry’s shares.

Financial stocks are likely to be as toxic to portfolio performance as banks’ assets are to their balance sheets,” New York-based Bernstein wrote in a research note. They plunged yesterday, driving the Standard & Poor’s 500 Financials Index to an 11 percent drop, on skepticism the rescue package will work.

Bernstein said the government should increase deposit insurance, seize assets, shut “large” banks and encourage takeovers.

“The history of bubbles clearly shows that the significant consolidation of the financial sector is inevitable,” the strategist wrote. “The latest Treasury program is simply another attempt to stymie the consolidation process.”

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