It really was not much of a surprise, but the boys at The Blackstone Group (NYSE:BX) got the first analyst calls today and the news was good.
When it was all said and done, we now have two "overweights" [Lehman (LEH) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS)], three "buys" [Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), Citigroup (NYSE:C), and Deutsche Bank (NYSE:DB)] and one "market perform" [Wachovia Corp. (NASDAQ:WB)].
Here is the thing. If the Democrats back off their "tax the hell out of anyone who makes a profit" pledge, Blackstone is indeed a buy. There has been word out of Washington that centrist Democrats are joining Republicans in recognizing the "unintended consequences" of raising PE taxes from 15% to 35% are far greater than any additional revenues they would then have to waste. As an aside, haven't we proven repeatedly in history that lower tax rates actually increase treasury revenues due to the increased economic activity they spur? If Democrats do not back off, there is no telling where they will stop and I would avoid Blackstone like the plague until we learn how they will handle their new tax rate and what affect it will have on their operations.
Rather, I would go to financials like Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), where we at least know how they will perform and is selling inexplicably at LESS than nine times earnings (current year's and next year's). Of course, the same would hold true for Fortress Investment Group (NYSE:FIG) and the upcoming KKR Financial Holdings LLC (KFN) offering - although I am convinced we will not see this one anytime soon.
BX 1-month chart: