4 Top Bank and Finance Leaders Getting More Positive Views for Upside in 2018

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The stock market has bounced almost 1,000 Dow points from its lows on Wednesday morning as the fears of trade wars and runaway interest rates start to ease. It turns out that investors are flocking back into bank stocks, and analysts are deciding that there finally may be room for more of a risk-on trade than what was feared on Wednesday morning.

24/7 Wall St. tracks many analyst upgrades, downgrades, initiations, and reiterations each weekday. After highlighting more than 20 analyst calls on Thursday, April 5, it turns out that there are four very positive analyst calls for upside in banking and consumer finance stocks. Prior to the recent sell-off, bank and financials were being treated as the primary beneficiaries of the current pro-growth, lower-tax and rising interest rate environment.

Additional color has been added on each call, and the consensus analyst price targets are from Thomson Reuters.

American Express

American Express Co. (NYSE: AXP) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $110 price target at Citigroup. The firm cited Amex’s strong billings momentum driving earnings growth.

Shares closed up 0.9% at $93.58 on Wednesday and were up 1.4% more at $94.91 midday Thursday. They had a consensus analyst target price of $108.08 ahead of this call.

Capital One

Capital One Financial Corp. (NYSE: COF) was also started as Buy at Citigroup. The analyst team set a $115 price target in the call as it sees Capital One winning from its move to the cloud and from infrastructure upgrades.

Its shares were last seen trading up 1.7% at $97.98, in a 52-week range of $76.05 to $106.50. The consensus target price is $114.82.

Citigroup

Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) was raised to Buy from Neutral and the price target was raised to $80 from $78 at UBS. The bank sees the risk/reward profile having improved at the same time that there is better loan growth and earnings momentum in the Citibanamex operations. Also a plus is that its Global Consumer Banking unit is expected to grind higher from the current levels.

Citigroup was up 1.2% at $69.31 on Wednesday, and the shares were up 2% at $70.69 in Thursday’s midday trading. The 52-week range is $57.55 to $80.70, and the consensus target price is $83.63.

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC) was called a buying opportunity after having been beaten down, and customers finally may be getting more comfortable with the banking giant. UBS raised the stock to Buy from Neutral, although the price target was cut to $60 from $63, after the stock was trying to bottom out in recent days at $51.

Wells Fargo shares closed up 1.6% at $52.91 on Wednesday and were trading up 1.5% at $53.68 around noon on Thursday. The consensus target price is about $63.50, and the 52-week range is $49.27 to $66.31.