Let’s talk about Lazard Ltd (NYSE:LAZ).
Here's the thing. You've heard me say, I don't like the financials. I don't like those big box guys. I don't know what they own, but I know they've sold a lot of their junk to the Fed, and I still don't know how they operate. I'm still offended they took our money in the bailout and they won't give us loan. But this business is a little different.
They're mostly in asset management. If you look at the composition, even the big names of who reported so far, everyone's going for this business. It's huge. We're talking about over the next 20, 30 years, the greatest transfer of wealth in history -- $60, $70 trillion, assets.
By the way, this is a global player. Last time they reported, they saw record operating revenue. The advisory business is up 19%, M&A business up 29%. (You guys who watch Making Money, you know I think it's going to be a big year for M&A.) Operating margins 25%. To tell you how great that is, from 2006 to 2009, it was 12%, from 2010 to 2012: 19%.
They're involved in some of the biggest deals. AT&T for DirecTV, GE (NYSE:GE) vs. Alstom, the Burger King (NYSE:BKW), Tim Horton deal. They're always right in the thick of it. Again, it has a global footprint.
Technically, it's come down. I'd like to see it hold $44, but I don't think it should break there. On the upside, if you're using charts, for me it's a breakout. I like it to $54. It might be a trading vehicle, but I actually think it's pretty good for your 401k.