Financial Sector in a Bind; Gold and Oil on the Rise; U.S. Dollar Slides Hard

by: Louis Victor

Credit concerns have been the main topic of conversation from Wall Street to Main Street, putting financial institutions from brokerage firms to banks on the ropes. With firms such as Citigroup (NYSE:C) taking down several billion dollars in write downs not for the year but quarter after quarter, eventually leading to the exit of CEO Chuck Prince.

But that was far from the only recent casualty of this current debacle that is plaguing the U.S. markets. Merrill Lynch's (MER) top dog Stan O'Neal stepped down as well, leading to a further shakeup on Wall Street. The sub-prime mortgage meltdown is eventually spanning the globe but hitting the United States economy square on the chin. Attention is moving away from companies such as Countrywide Financial (CFC), which is far in the abyss as it relates to their exposure to this arena and the spotlight is on the banking and brokerage sector. With no life preserver in, sight rumors are beginning to spread and companies such as Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), and JP Morgan (NYSE:JPM) are some of the companies in question as to whether they will begin to post the multi-billion dollar quarterly write downs that Citigroup has.

One company that has been conservative throughout the years has been Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC), their exposure to this mess of a situation is actually limited because their procedures for funding has always been much tougher than the other lenders that implemented very flexible lending procedures. Mortgage backed securities are pulling down the once darlings of Wall Street, but if you have been watching the overall global economy you will notice that the domino effect is staggering.

Crude oil is shortly going to break a $100 a barrel while Gold is hitting historic highs and this is just the beginning. With Gold bypassing the $700 per ounce mark which many analyst were weary about, then breaking the $800 per ounce mark which is leading to a broad based belief that gold reaching for the $1000 per ounce level or better in the very near future is attainable. Direct beneficiaries to the oil craze and this environment are companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp (NYSE:XOM), Valero Energy (NYSE:VLO) and Chevron Corp (NYSE:CVX). Lets not forget gold related companies that had their rough patch over the years but companies such as Goldcorp Inc (NYSE:GG), Gammon Gold (GRS), Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd (NYSE:AEM) and Northgate Minerals (NXG), all of these companies are benefiting from the current rise in these two commodities but this is only the beginning as we head in the winter months.

With the Fed not lowering rates 50 basis points instead just lowering it 25 basis points created a stir, although it was a good gesture that Wall Street was looking for something a bit more powerful and they didn't get it.

The U.S. Dollar is continuing to slide as the Euro is becoming the currency to have in your pockets, from supermodels to super-billionaires and music moguls, they are making shifts from U.S. Dollars to Euros. The impact of the drop in the U.S. dollar may directly have an impact on the retail arena this holiday season as the consumers are concerned about the state of the economy, and if they are not then they should be concerned. From Wall Street Masters of the Universe to the clerk in the local Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), they all have a need for concern in the months ahead as this seems to be just the tip of the iceberg.

Granted for investors there are a number of profit making stocks to look at, I've said it for some time that under the radar companies such as Jones Soda Co (NASDAQ:JSDA) and Parker Drilling (NYSE:PKD) are two examples that investors are truly overlooking.

Automotive companies such as General Motors (NYSE:GM) and Ford (NYSE:F) are sure to feel the pinch even more as their models for next year may take a hit in the sales belly, when consumers are worried about spending they tighten the belt, well retail gets hit.

So are we going to see gold hit the $1000 per ounce mark?, I'd have to venture to say that we may see gold hit the $1200 per ounce mark sooner than later. Lets not forget the Pharma sector, in good times or bad, prescription pharmaceuticals are used, whether it be generic or not.

Disclosure: none

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