Goldman CEO: US economy 'envy of the world'

Shares of the venerable bank are poised to rise, though maybe not as much as Barron's suggests.

By Jonathan Berr Oct 2, 2012 12:28PM
American Eagle copyright Steve Allen, Brandx Pictures, PhotolibraryNever one to mince words, Goldman Sachs (GS) CEO Lloyd Blankfein recently told Marketplace that the "the U.S. capital market system is quite frankly the envy of the world." 

That, unfortunately, is not saying much, but people who agree with the banker's views might want to consider buying shares of his company.

There are many reasons why investors should put their money behind Blankfein's mouth. For one thing, the U.S. economy is expected to grow 2.3% this year, beating the 1.8% gain seen in 2011, according to the OECD. 

Not only is that better than Japan, the U.K., France or Germany are expected to do, but the U.S. is the only country forecast to show an improvement from the previous year. If those predictions are correct, that is good news for shares of Goldman Sachs, though maybe not enough to hit the 25% yearly gain forecast recently by Barron's.

Take mergers, acquisitions and IPOs. Though global deal volume remains at a three-year low, the U.S. has bucked that trend, posting a 14% increase in the second quarter. With the S&P 500 up about 15% this year, stocks are now more useful as a currency in transactions. Assets in Europe are also getting too cheap for U.S. companies to ignore. As for IPOs, trends there are looking encouraging as well, according to Ernst & Young.

Shares of Goldman, which have surged more than 30% this year, remain attractively valued, even though they have outperformed rivals such as JPMorgan (JPM), Morgan Stanley (MS) and Citigroup (C). As Barron's noted, they are trading well off their 2007 peak of $248 and below tangible book value of $126. The reasons to buy Goldman don't stop there.

Though the bank trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.57, a premium to its peers, the valuation appears to be justified given how conservatively the bank is managed. Goldman Sachs' revenue is expected to almost double in the current quarter,  surpassing its competitors, most of whom are expected to see double-digit declines. The average price target on the stock is $128.04, about 9% above where it currently trades.

Goldman has done a good job of keeping expenses in check and has managed risks fairly well.  The company's latest earnings surpassed Wall Street's low expectations. Investors, though, are bound to expect more and the company is poised to continue to perform better as the economy slowly rebounds.

Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter@jdberr.

Oct 8, 2012 4:42PM
Its time to reunite and make America strong from within! This is a great country and its time to fix the homeland.
Oct 2, 2012 12:52PM
The CEO said "the U.S. capital market system is quite frankly the envy of the world." Yet the author changed it to "U.S. economy 'envy of the world'".  WOW.  Call it lying through the teeth!!!
Oct 2, 2012 12:58PM
No kidding the US Capital market system can rely on the FED to keep printing the world's fiat currency. I'll bet Asia and the EU wish they could do that and the US would buy their debt.
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