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Fast Money

Are We Running Out Of Time For Banking Turnaround?


Japan's Nikkei is at risk of falling back to a 26-year low. Could we find ourselves in the same boat unless we do something about banks, and fast?

In all fairness that dire prediction about the Nikkei was made by one analyst, Yutaka Miura, a senior technical analyst at Shinko Securities. But it certainly underscores the uncertainty that investors grapple with on a daily basis -- as the financial crisis leaves investors struggling with one startling development after another.

Perhaps one of the biggest developments came on Sunday when GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham speaking on ABC’s This Week said that he’s willing to consider nationalization. That’s right a Republican is open to the idea of seizing banks.

"This idea of nationalizing banks is not comfortable, but I think we have gotten so many toxic assets spread throughout the banking and financial community throughout the world that we're going to have to do something that no one ever envisioned a year ago, no one likes," Graham said. "But, to me, banking and housing are the root cause of this problem. And I'm very much afraid that any program to salvage the bank is going to require the government.."

Jeremy Zirin, UBS wealth management senior equity strategist agrees. He suggests to Fast Money that if the government were to make a list of the banks most likely to be nationalized, Citigroup and Bank of America would be at the top of that list. Those are “the banks with the most toxic assets exposure,” he says.

But why nationalization?

“Pure nationalization would help recapitalize some of the players who can’t remain solvent,” he says. “And we need the government to backstop the losses in order to attract private capital. That’s the missing link here.”

In case you’re wondering Zirin has an underweight on the banks and financials “We need to see more details from Washington on the financial plan,” he says, before investors should consider the space.

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Trader disclosure: On Feb. 17th, 2008, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s Fast Money were owned by the Fast Money traders; Seymour Owns (AAPL), (AA), (BAC), (EEM), (XOM), (FXI), (YUM); Seymour's Firm Owns (VIP); Adami Owns (AGU), (BTU), (C), (GS), (INTC), (MSFT), (NUE); Najarian Owns (CELG), (ENER); Najarian Owns (GS) Calls; Najarian Owns (EEM) Call Spread; Najarian Owns (FCX) & (FCX) Calls; Najarian Owns (CHK) Put Spread; Najarian Owns (GDX) Call Spread; Najarian Owns (GLD) Call Spread; Najarian Owns (MSFT) & (MSFT) Short Calls; Najarian Owns (MS) & (MS) Short Calls; Najarian Owns (MOS) Call Spread; Najarian Owns (STI) Call Spread; Finerman's Firm Owns (AET), (CRXL), (MSFT), (XBI), (FL); Finerman's Firm Owns (DNA) & (DNA) Call Spread; Finerman's Firm Is Short (USO), (VNO), (BBT), (IYR), (IJR), (IWM), (MDY), (SPY) with wires