While the financial pundits are mixed on the prognostications for 2015, one thing seems for sure, at some point over the next year interest rates will start to trickle higher. For the banks that need higher interest rates to generate more deposit and interest margin income, this lag may take some steam out of 2015 earnings. A new research report from Deutsche Bank says that investors may want to focus on the large-cap, market-sensitive banks, as they may perform the best in the near term.
The Deutsche Bank team pointed out in the report that they remain overweight the market-sensitive banks, given the view that fixed income trading revenues will rebound before net interest margins do. In addition, they are of the opinion that the bulk of legal and regulatory issues that hung over the biggest banks for years have been mostly reflected in stocks’ current prices. Deutsche Bank’s three market-sensitive banks to buy now are Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC), Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM).
Bank of America
Deutsche Bank rates Bank of America at Buy, and it remains perhaps the perfect contrarian pick. A huge accounting snafu hurt the stock in the spring, and the government’s legal settlements on bad mortgages took quite a hit on the balance sheet. In adding up the sum-of-the-parts value for the stock, which trades at a deep discount to regional bank metrics, many on Wall Street see sizable value in the stock.
Also, it is also important to remember the huge impact that Merrill Lynch has on the bottom line, especially with an ongoing secular bull market firmly in place. Bank of America investors are paid a 1.2% dividend yield. The Deutsche Bank price target for the stock is $18.50 and the Thomson/First Call consensus price target is $18.15. Shares closed Wednesday at $17.29.
Goldman Sachs continues to be the gold standard of Wall Street banks. With a high net worth clientele, top investment banking and capital markets expertise, the firm continues to be a dominant force around the world. Very few firms can’t dictate who can be a customer, Goldman is one of those few.
The company is another that is benefiting from the long secular bull market run. While the trajectory may slow in 2015, any upside to the market can nudge revenues even higher. Its investors are paid a 1.3% dividend. While the Deutsche Bank price target is $195, the consensus estimate is posted at $177.92. Note that Goldman Sachs closed Wednesday at $190.95.
Like most of the top money center banks, J.P. Morgan is expected to benefit from commercial loan growth and an upturn in capital spending. The Deutsche Bank team notes in their report that the stock seems attractively valued on 2015 estimated price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 10.2, which is lowest among market sensitive banks, and a very solid price-to-book value.
Some on Wall Street have cautioned that the recent divestiture of the physical commodities business could provide an earnings headwind next year. The Deutsche Bank analysts point out that the improvement in loan growth and a steady increase in deposits will be a solid plus. Trading at a discount to the other large cap banks on 2015 earnings estimates also helps upside potential.
J. P. Morgan investors are paid a respectable 2.7% dividend. The Deutsche Bank price objective is $66, and the consensus price target is at $67.48. J.P. Morgan shares closed Wednesday at $61.54.
Clearly the Deutsche Bank analysts are comfortable staying with large-cap, market-dominating stocks. This makes sense going into 2015, which could be a year in which market returns drop to single-digit levels.
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