Dick Bove is now with Rafferty Capital, and he was on CNBC this morning with yet another very positive call in the banking sector. His view is ahead of the stress test results today and ahead of the final approval for which banks will be allowed to raise dividends and increase share buybacks. While Bove was very positive on Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC), his hands down winner for a bank stock pick is Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC).
In the full CNBC video, Bove talked about many of the big banks having share prices that are still under the book values. He also noted how banks in good times can trade at up to 2.5 times their book values, and right now you can still buy some of them at discounts to their stated book values due to the regulatory issues and due to the hangover of the recession. Today’s call sounds almost like a value investor’s dream. Bove noted that Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) just hit new 52-week highs. Bove thinks that the stress tests will highlight that the balance sheets have excess capital and that the majors all will be able to increase dividend payouts. U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB) wants to increase its dividend payout substantially.
As far as the formal Bank of America call, Dick Bove said he thinks that the bank, the best DJIA performer of 2012, is his hands-down pick and that its stock is heading back up to $30 per share. The caveat was that it may take two or three years to get there. Bove also was positive on SunTrust Banks Inc. (NYSE: STI) for understating its assets, and he said that KeyCorp (NYSE: KEY) was a good bank stock to buy as well.
Bank of America shares are surging on the news, with a gain of 2.6% at $12.23 so far this morning. This compares to a 52-week range of $6.72 to $12.42. If Bove is right, let’s just say that investors will make about 150% on their money.
Bove is even more bullish on Bank of America than the other most well-known analyst, Meredith Whitney. She called for Bank of America to go to $15.00, and she has the highest official price target of the major analysts covered by Thomson Reuters. We would also point out that the mean price target is $12.40 and the median price target is $12.75.
Bank of America did not make our own proprietary list of the safest banks in America for depositors, but it may be eligible again in 2014 or beyond if the Federal Reserve allows the bank to return more capital to shareholders.
To show both sides of the coin: an article from Wednesday on TheStreet.com shows what seems like a different look and feel after Bove’s comments from attending banking presentations.