Banks have been back as a flavor for investors for a while. After all, Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) was the best performing stock of all 30 Dow Jones Industrial Average components in 2012. That bank is back to within a nickel of its 52-week high of $12.20 and that would be the highest share price going back to May of 2011.
What you have here is a case of turnarounds continuing to turn, and value investors can still find gems as well. Some of this is the continued rotation from bonds to stocks, followed by the fear that rates could rise handily in the months to years ahead. Another positive is that banks are now trading back above their stated book values and some are back up to being above their tangible book values. Other financial players are back at 52-week highs and back at multiyear highs.
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is back, and the woes of the London Whale are gone. Jamie Dimon is even able to lead the banking sector CEOs again. The 52-week trading range was $30.83 to $48.90, and shares hit $49.20 today. We are just weeks away from knowing how much this mega-cap bank will be allowed to boost its dividend and share buybacks.
The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) is back at new multiyear highs as well. Lloyd Blankfein is even speaking more in public again. The prior 52-week range was $90.43 to $152.87, and shares hit $154.00 on Tuesday. This is the highest share price going back to April of 2011.
Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) was a surprise to see on the list, but there it is after hitting $44.38 on Tuesday. Its prior 52-week range was $24.61 to $43.49. On a split-adjusted basis, this is a high back to May of 2011.
American International Group Inc. (NYSE: AIG) has now paid back Uncle Sam and CEO Robert Benmosche has done about of good as a job as any CEO could have done. Shares hit $39.90 on Tuesday against a prior 52-week range of $26.24 to $39.56. This is a high going back to February of 2011.
As a reminder, we have offered upside guidance to our peak of 14,590 for the DJIA in 2013 but we have not formalized any higher targets as of yet. Meredith Whitney recently said BofA could rise to $15 in the coming months, and Dick Bove gave upside projections of 30% or more in his bullish bank call lately.
Today’s gains are enough to help the Financial Select Sector SPDR (NYSEMKT: XLF) hit new highs even though many components are not yet at 52-week highs. The XLF is up 0.7% at $17.80 against a prior 52-week range of $13.30 to $17.71. If the price chart of the XLF holds up, then this shows a breakout and is the highest price going back to the financial mess. Even the crazy triple-leveraged Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X Shares (NYSEMKT: FAS) hit a new high of $152.50 against a prior 52-week trading range of $67.79 to $150.25.
Jon C. Ogg