Bear Stearns Cos Inc is seeing renewed flows in the financial markets as fear eases after this summer's credit crunch, the firm's president said on Thursday.
You can just see the tension in the market ease, said President Alan Schwartz, of the market's reaction to the U.S. Federal Reserve lowering the benchmark federal funds rate by a half-percentage point on September 18.
Wall Street's No. 5 brokerage by market value, which has had a tumultuous summer with the collapse of two hedge funds and the ouster of co-president Warren Spector, now sees opportunities in restructuring assets hit by the recent credit turmoil, Schwartz said.
Right now the anticipation in the market is for things to ease which is taking some of the fear out of the market and letting things flow a little bit better, he added, speaking at the investment bank's presentation for investors.
He added that the outlook remained relatively strong for investment banking, despite the credit crunch.
Strategic M&A activity could remain robust as long as the economy remains strong, he added, noting that some companies which have tried to use excess cash for increased dividends haven't seen much improvement in their share price.
Schwartz also said international expansion represented an opportunity for the firm as foreign institutional investors seek new firms to manage their assets.
Other key opportunities include the equities business, where Bear Stearns is hiring in the prime brokerage arena, structured equity products, risk arbitrage, as well as energy trading, he said.
(Reporting by Lilla Zuill, Christian Plumb and Joseph A. Giannone)