Banking & Finance

Electronic Trading Price Wars (AMTD, SCHW, ETFC, IBKC)

This is weighing on shares of all e-brokers as they used to be called.  TD AMERITRADE Holding Corporation (NASDAQ: AMTD) is trading down 3% at $17.67, and its CEO spoke at a conference today saying that he does not see the need for a fee-cut in direct response.  E*TRADE Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: ETFC) is down 2.5% at $1.55 on the day and we have no clue what to expect from the company on its future charges and/or fee cuts because it is effectively operating without a permanent CEO.

The opinions on what a potential commission war would look like actually vary from source to source.  In some cases, a review of the same data listing the same pros and cons and the only difference is the last sentence of the report… “Therefore you should buy” or “Therefore you should sell”… That was the case over the last two weeks with Interactive Brokers Group (NASDAQ: IBKR) after its January earnings report.  Raymond James cut the stock to “Market Perform” on January 22, 2010 and on January 24, 2010 it was called a “Bargain” by Michael Santoli in Barron’s.  This was not really based on looking at any different data as it was after the post-earnings drop, yet the outlook is very different based upon that single snapshot in time.

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