Market Overview

Taking Profits In Financials? Proceed With Caution

Taking Profits In Financials? Proceed With Caution

Standpoint Research's Ronnie Moas said in a note that one may be well advised to proceed with caution while making investment decisions concerning financial stocks.

Underweighted? Hold. Overweighted? Take Profits.

For those who are underweight on financials and/or hopeful of the new administration delivering on the promise, the recommendation is to hold onto names such as SunTrust Banks, Inc. (NYSE: STI) and KeyCorp (NYSE: KEY). That said, Moas also suggests profit taking for those overweighted.

Run Up

Moas noted that KeyCorp shares have been up 40 percent since his October 30, 2015 recommendation compared to a 6 percent gain for the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX). Over the past month alone, the shares were up 30 percent, outperforming the 12 percent gain for the Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund (NYSE: XLF) and the 2 percent gain for the S&P 500 Index.

Since the elections, KeyCorp has been up a solid 20 percent and has now moved 70 percent off its 52-week low.

Lowering Valuation

Given the run up, Moas said he cannot leave his highest recommendation attached to the bank. He downgraded the shares of KeyCorp to Hold from Buy. Moas said he closed out SunTrust on November 15. Moas recommends that sellers of financial stocks should be careful not to leave them with significant underweight in a sector. He does not rule out the possibility of financial stocks outperforming, as many companies in the space are still trading well off their highs from 10 years ago.

Moas still sees value in stocks such as KeyCorp and SunTrust, especially if the new administration raises interest rates and erases many of the regulations that were put in place during the last eight years. That said, he cautioned that a lot of recent gains have priced in the good news that is anticipated.

O'Leary Bearish On Financials Near Term

Meanwhile, CNBC "Shark Tank" investor Kevin O'Leary said on CNBC's Halftime Report on Monday that a 25 basis point hike in Fed funds rate in December and a status quo in 2017, which is most likely, may not help banks to make money. Additionally, O'Leary believes it would take months, if not years, for the benefits expected under a Trump to materialize. Consequently, he expects the financial space to underperform the S&P 500 in 2017, although he is confident of growth beyond 2017.

Posted-In: Analyst Color News Termination Downgrades Politics Economics Federal Reserve Analyst Ratings Best of Benzinga


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