Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) was the top-performing Dow Jones Industrial Average stock in 2012. That performance was not with banking analyst Meredith Whitney cheering it along all the way. Ultimately, she did change her tune and called it a solid Buy in banking stocks. Meredith Whitney was out Thursday, not just reiterating her bullish stance on Bank of America. Whitney predicts that Bank of America’s common stock is headed to $15 in the next six to nine months.
Before endorsing this as a systemwide or sectorwide call, she is not so positive on Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) under the CEO plan. She said this morning on Bloomberg Surveillance on Bank of America:
I think that Citi does ok, but I think Bank of America is the stock to own this year without a doubt. There is so much financial leverage with that name. They will return I think over $4 billion in buybacks. It could be $5 billion in buybacks this year and really move the needle. I think that stock easily goes to $15 in the next six to nine months.
Whitney said on Citigroup:
We do not know yet. What we do know is Mike O’Neill’s history, he’s the chairman. He likes to downsize, he likes to sell stuff. We know his agenda. We do not know Michael Corbat’s agenda. he did not give us an agenda or even a time stamp for when he’s going to give us an agenda, so it left people a little bit uninspired.
Meredith Whitney also praised Bank of America’s CEO Brian Moynihan. She thinks that people underestimate him, and she thinks he will look strong this year. Her full Bloomberg interview is here.
The call is not having much impact, in part because her bullish stance came on later than the street’s move much higher for Bank of America shares. The shares are down 1% at $11.81, against a 52-week range of $6.72 to $12.20. On the other hand, Citigroup shares are down almost 1% at $42.67, against a 52-week range of $24.61 to $43.34.
Jon C. Ogg