I get it. Financial-services stocks have caught the cooties. When Bear Stearns falters -- the company had a book value of $84 a share leading into Sunday night's shocking $2-a-share buyout bailout -- what hope do lesser names have of being trusted?
Still, I couldn't agree less with a pair of market calls this morning. UBS is downgrading shares of TD AMERITRADE
Both stocks fell on the news, with ravaged rival E*Trade
It's not right. Investment bankers succumbing to credit crunches have little to do with the retail discount brokerage business. Investors may recall that it was E*Trade's mortgage business -- not its healthy stock-brokerage bread and butter -- that sent the stock on the grim path of free-falling share prices and massive writedowns.
So is it right for investment bankers like Lehman Brothers
I think so. Just as Schwab and TD AMERITRADE jockeyed for position to catch concerned E*Trade customers, the discounters should be waiting with nets offering exit strategies, dirt-cheap commissions, and attractive savings yields. After all, even E*Trade got back on track. The recent market volatility has translated into brisk trading among the discounter accounts. Once the dust settles, the discounters will be in an even healthier position when it comes to trust.
As long as the discounters stick to their knitting -- generating quality trades at attractive price points, instead of dabbling away in exotic investments -- today's sell ratings should ring more like dinner bells to patient investors who know what's for supper.
What's that? You're still unsure about whether or not you should get a new broker? Get thee to our Discount Broker Center to learn more and compare some sponsored commission schedules.
Charles Schwab is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. A free trial is waiting with your name on it if you want to learn more.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been trading exclusively through discount brokers since 1990 but does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.