BlackRock's Doll: Brokerage Stocks Cheap, But...
Investment banking's so-called "trillion-dollar man" says he's undecided about whether brokerage stocks are bargains, despite their current low prices.
BlackRock vice chairman and chief of global equities Bob Doll also believes Federal Reserve policymakers are unlikely to raise interest rates any time soon.
"I think they're finished lowering rates," he told CNBC. "On the other hand, all this noise about them raising rates...I think all Ben Bernanke's been doing is trying to talk up the dollar, talk down oil prices, and there's no way the Fed is going to raise rates any time soon."
What does the man who called the market bottom in March have to say about a recession? Not now, he insists.
"I hang my hat on real GDP -- that's the overall measure of our economy -- and it's still moving up," he said.
As far as financial-stock bargains, Doll says the landscape changed when the Fed opened its discount window to provide banks with collateral.
"We don't know what the earnings model's going to look like when the dust settles," he said. "If you're looking at the old model, yeah, these stocks are definitely cheap, but there's a price to be paid for the Fed opening the window: That means more regulation, less leverage."
Among investment banks, Goldman Sachs posted stronger-than-expected second-quarter results on Tuesday morning. That was one day after Lehman Brothers reported the first quarterly loss since going public in 1994, with $2.8 billion in red ink for the period. Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley were scheduled to post second-quarter numbers on Wednesday.
European and Asian banks may not be as reluctant as Doll to snap up American brokerages. Ralph Silva, research director for TowerGroup, told CNBC Europe he wouldn't be surprised if Lehman were to be sold by the end of 2008.