Is This the Golden Age for Financial Stocks?

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The U.S. economy is building momentum, and a large part of this has been the financial sector. “The Big Short” guy, Steven Eisman, even said back in December that we are entering a golden age for financial stocks, considering the rate hikes that were on the horizon. One analyst took this idea and ran with it after the Federal Reserve just hiked its rates this week.

The recent rate hike from the Fed might have been too late to impact the first quarter for the major banks, but it sets an optimistic outlook for the industry. Fed Chair Yellen appears to be moving away from being data dependent, with the momentum that the Trump rally has brought. As a result we might expect a few more rate hikes this year, which ultimately would benefit these major banks.

Credit Suisse took this opportunity to weigh in on a couple of the major banks that stand to benefit the most from this rate hike.

The brokerage firm has an Outperform rating for Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) and raised its price target slightly to $27 from $26.

Credit Suisse also hiked its expectations for this megabank going forward. The firm raised its full-year 2017 earnings estimate to $1.74 per share from $1.72. Carrying through the assumed benefit of additional U.S. interest rate hikes, with reasonably conservative deposit beta assumptions, the 2018 estimate increases to $2.10 per share from $2.05.

This franchise can grow, and all the more so in a rising rate environment. Better revenue growth coupled with visible operating leverage and manageable credit cost increases will be the keys to realization of franchise value.

Shares of Bank of America were trading up 1% at $25.43 on Thursday. The stock has a 52-week trading range of $12.05 to $25.80 and a consensus analyst price target of $24.94.

Credit Suisse has an Outperform rating for JPMorgan and raised its price target to $99 from $96. The brokerage firm commented in its report:

We’ve updated our earnings model to reflect changing macro assumptions—slower loan growth (through the first half of 2017), more favorable commercial credit quality trends, and higher interest rates (the likelihood that our banks benefit from at least two rate hikes in 2017). Incorporating these changes, our full year 2017 estimate increases to $6.55 from $6.50 per share. Carrying through the assumed benefit of additional U.S. interest rate hikes, with reasonably conservative deposit beta assumptions, our 2018E increases to $7.55 from $7.40 per share. Factoring in these estimate changes, our target price increases to $99 from $96.

JPMorgan’s sustained share price outperformance relies on above average and improving return on equity prospects consistent with what it has observed in recent results and what it expects going forward.

JPMorgan shares were last seen up 1% at $92.71, with a consensus price target of $90.44 and a 52-week range of $57.05 to $93.98.