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Farrell: Wall Street Knows the Price of Everything

Wall Street knows the price of everything, but the value of nothing. This is an old saying that unfortunately is still true. We live in a (mostly) free market economy and the prize goes to the highest bidder. But it seems wrong to have the New York Stock Exchange go to a foreign buyer. The Exchange goes back to the famed buttonwood tree in 1792. Capitalism was born in the United States and despite its many flaws, is still the best system for advancing the human condition. There are few icons that should/need to be preserved, but this is one.

When the twin towers came down on 9/11, New Yorkers wondered if they could recover. I had breakfast two days after with the intellectually toughest man I know. And we both sat and cried at what had happened to our City. America and the rest of the world looked on and wondered as well. The focus shifted to the Exchange as the symbol of New York, America, and what our country stood for. Through herculean efforts the Exchange quickly reopened and the world marveled and knew New York, therefore America, could not be defeated.

"Where is our spine? Where is the conviction and fortitude to compete and prove the US is still the financial capital of the world." -Soleil Securities Group, Vince Farrell

There are some things that should not be measured by numbers on a spread sheet. I know there will be several hundred millions of dollars of synergies. I know the competition around the world is ferocious and trading every conceivable derivative is necessary and expensive. I understand from a numbers perspective the deal makes sense. But where is our spine? Where is the conviction and fortitude to compete and prove the US is still the financial capital of the world. Has it really shifted to....Frankfurt?

I had no axe when Unocal was bid for by a Chinese company a few years ago. Unocal had been Boone Pickensed, leveraged to the hilt, folded, spindled and reprocessed. Its reserves were in Myanmar and offshore China. And still there was a stink from Washington about America's assets being bought. About the only asset left in America was the headquarters (authors right to hyperbole being claimed here). The bid was stymied and I thought it was unfair. And I think to let an American icon that so recently was America's rallying point and so long the symbol of American business go away is wrong. I don't care that 80% of Coke's business is overseas and it's still considered to be an American institution. The NYSE will be a sub of a foreign company and I am sure the name will go away. Where's the rage?

As the incomparable Hattie McDaniel, playing Mammy in "Gone With the Wind", said "It's wrong, it's wrong, it's just plain wrong."

Vincent Farrell, Jr. is chief investment officer at Soleil Securities Group and a regular contributor to CNBC.