Bank of America’s Q3 Encourages Bulls
Better revenue growth, visible operating leverage and manageable credit-cost increases will drive upside.
With Bank of America’s third-quarter upside, we’re raising our full-year 2017 earnings-per-share estimate to $1.81 from $1.77; our 2018 and 2019 EPS estimates are unchanged at $2.10 and $2.30 per share, respectively. Our target price is unchanged at $31.
We continue to recommend purchase of Bank of America (ticker: BAC) shares and are that much more encouraged in prospects for outperformance given year-to-date results. Better revenue growth, visible operating leverage and manageable credit-cost increases will drive realization of franchise value. [We rate Bank of America at Outperform.]
See entire article here.
BofA says two areas a life raft for investors
BofA-Merrill Lynch names two places which could keep investors in green.
Bank of America-Merrill Lynch is warning investors not to chase the rally.
Even though it’s predicting the end is near, the firm isn’t advocating a strategy which would push money to the sidelines.
“The market is trading quite elevated,” said Marc Pouey, BofA Merrill Lynch’s senior U.S. equity strategist, told CNBC’s “Futures Now” recently. “But I think underneath the surface there are quite a few opportunities out there.”
According to Pouey, there are two sectors which will likely be immune to a broader market downturn.
“Two of the glaring areas for me are financials and in health care which are both trading at a discount to the market here,” he said.
Pouey sees financials as a growth story.
“We’ve seen over 10 percent dividend growth in the space. They’re also buying back their stock very, very aggressively,” added Pouey. “They’re rewarding shareholders from that perspective.”
He made the case for health care based on the sector’s history.
“If you look back over the last three years or so, consistently — every single quarter — health care delivers top-line and bottom-line beats outside maybe a couple of quarters. They are really delivering the goods there,” said Pouey, noting that biotech is a shining area, too.
BofA’s S&P 500 Index year-end price target is 2450; that’s four percent below current levels. Pouey’s comments came as the index recorded its longest winning streak since 2013.
In a special note to CNBC, he called the environment a “sentiment driven market with the S&P 500 trading at a 17.8x forward price/earnings (PE) ratio, at cycle highs, and 1.5 multiple points above pre-election levels.”
As for market risks, the biggest issue is the lack of one.
“Near-term, there probably aren’t many risks, which is maybe the biggest risk,” Pouey said.
One spot he particularly finds negative is small-cap stocks. Pouey urged investors to fade the rally that area — pointing out its forward PE is within just one percent of cycle highs.
Read original here by Stephanie Landsman of CNBC
BofA Is Now Worth (Slightly) More Than Wells Fargo
By Shawn Tully, Fortune
One of the most amazing reversals in the annals of financial services is now official. As of September 13, Bank of America’s market cap has edged past that of its arch rival Wells Fargo. At 10:30 AM, Bank of America’s value stood at $255.9 billion, just over $1 billion higher than Wells’ cap of $254.85 billion. Of course, the contest is so close that BofA could slip easily slip behind within hours or days, so we’ll call the race between the banking behemoths a tie.
The odds that BofA could possibly catch Wells seemed long indeed as recently as the summer of 2015. On July 20th of that year, BofA was worth just $188 billion versus $299 billion for Wells. But in just over two years, the entire $111 billion gap has vanished, as BofA’s stock has roared 34%, and Wells’ shares went the other way, suffering a drop of 11.4%.
BofA’s market value got a big lift in late August, when Warren Buffett exercised warrants to convert his giant holdings of preferred stock into 700 million common shares. Buffett, who’d delivered a sorely needed endorsement to then-beleaguered CEO Brian Moynihan by investing $5 billion in BofA preferreds in 2011, locked in a profit of $11.5 billion. The conversion to common shares boosted BofA’s share count by 6.6%, providing the extra lift that enabled it to catch Wells.
BofA’s rise and Wells’ decline also represents something of a reversal in strategies. During the financial crisis, BofA was the reckless gambler that got hammered, and Wells the prudent player that emerged relatively unscathed. But since becoming CEO in 2010, Moynihan has charted a conservative course of shunning risk and catering to the expanding needs of today’s customers, while Wells nurtured a go-go sales culture that exploded into scandal when it was disclosed that employees created fake customer accounts to boost their bonuses.
In banking, JP Morgan Chase remains the champ, boasting a market cap of $321 billion, 25% higher than its two closest rivals. The chance that BofA rather than Wells would emerge as the most likely challenger to JP Morgan seemed impossible two years ago. Moynihan argues that given its gigantic, low-cost deposit base and strength in the fast-growing Southwest, BofA’s run is just beginning. And don’t count Wells out; it remains enormously profitable despite the damage to its once-sterling brand. Suddenly, the contest to become America’s most valuable bank has become a three-way race.
Ride the coattails and think like Buffet
Excellent fundamental value and investing in the U.S. financial system.
Buffett Converts BofA Warrants Into $16.5 Billion Stake in Bank.
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. exercised warrants to buy 700 million shares of Bank of America Corp., locking in an $11.5 billion investment gain in a move that was telegraphed earlier this year. Buffett invested $5 billion in Bank of America in 2011 in exchange for preferred stock and the right to buy common shares. The cash infusion helped the bank put to rest doubts about whether it had enough capital, and its shares have more than tripled since then. Berkshire said in a statement in June that it would convert its preferred shares into common stock once the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank increased its dividend. The common shares that Berkshire received are worth about $16.5 billion. “In 2011, we welcomed Berkshire Hathaway as a shareholder, and we appreciate their continued support now as our largest common shareholder,” Bank of America Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan said Tuesday in a statement announcing that the transaction was completed.
See original by Noah Buhayar at Bloomberg by clicking here.
Don’t fight the Fed
Now if only the ECB and JCB would get off zero. Good article from CNBC.
Unless something dramatic happens, the Federal Reserve won’t be hiking interest rates again until well into 2018, according to current market predictions.
Fed funds futures — contracts that indicate where the market thinks the central bank’s benchmark rate will be — point to no further moves until at least next June, and possibly a good deal later. Futures indicate that the Fed will approve just one increase between now and the end of next year.
“The reason for that is they are not getting anywhere close to their inflation target,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities. “It’s that sort of secular change that we’ve seen in inflation. We’re just not going to get to 2 percent anytime soon. It keeps them at bay from being more aggressive on rates.”
If the current trend holds, 2017 will mark yet another year that the Fed said it would raise rates on a consistent basis but then backed off. Should the futures market have it right, 2018 would mark an even further departure from intentions.
The most recent projections from Fed officials show anticipation of one more rate hike this year, three in 2018 and then three or four more in 2019 to bring the funds rate to around 3 percent from its current 1.16 percent [1 percent to 1.25 percent target range].
The Fed has hiked twice this year but whiffed on its projections for 2016, when it was supposed to move four times but instead approved just one increase.
See the entire article written by Jeff Cox by clicking here.