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10 Cheapest Bank Stocks for 2011

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Using market and regulatory data provided by SNL Financial and Thomson Reuters, TheStreet has developed a list of the ten actively traded bank stocks with the lowest prices relative to consensus earnings estimates for 2011.

While most bank stocks are trading below tangible book value, that's not a good enough reason for investors to jump in. The name of the game is "normalized earnings," and while many holding companies are not expected to come close to pre-crisis earnings performance for two more years because of an expected decline in deposit fee revenue, historically low interest rates, weak loan demand, and lingering credit quality concerns for some, the major players should be able to continue releasing loan loss reserves which will boost earnings.

SNL Financial provided forward price-to-earnings ratios for 137 publicly traded U.S. bank and thrift holding companies with three-month average trading volume of at least 50,000. The P/E ratios are based on 2011 consensus estimates of earnings-per-common share, among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters and share prices on the date SNL received the consensus earnings estimates.

The following ten bank holding company stocks had the lowest price-to-earnings ratios based on 2011 EPS estimates among the group. Here they are, in order of descending forward P/E:

10. Capital One Financial

Company Profile

Shares of Capital One Financial (COF) of McLean, Va. closed at $40.69 Friday, for a year-to-date return 7%. The forward price-to-earnings ratio was 8.9, based on 2011 earnings-per-share estimate of $4.39 among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

Income Statement

Capital One reported second-quarter net income of $608 million, or $1.33 a share, compared to first-quarter earnings of $636 million, or $1.40 a share, and a net loss to common shareholders of $276 million, or 66 cents a share, a year earlier. Earnings for the second quarter of 2009 included charges related to repayment of $3.6 billion in bailout funds received via the Troubled Assets Relief Program, or TARP. Excluding those charges, Capital One would have earned $224 million or 53 cents a share for the second quarter of 2009.

Balance Sheet

Capital One had $197 billion in total assets as of June 30. Nonperforming assets - including loans past due 90 days or in nonaccrual status (less government-guaranteed balances) and repossessed real estate - comprised 2.22% of total assets as of June 30. This compares to a national aggregate second-quarter "noncurrent assets" ratio of 3.31% reported by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

For more on Capital One's improving credit quality, please see TheStreet's Card Outlook Positive for Big Issuers.

Stock Ratios

Capital One's shares were trading for 1.7 times tangible book value according to SNL. The price-to-forward earnings ratio of 8.9 compares to pre-credit-crisis P/E ratios exceeding 15 at the end of 2005, 2006 and 2007.

Analyst Ratings

Out of 23 analysts covering Capital One, 8 rate the shares a buy, while 14 recommend holding the shares and one recommends selling, according to Thomson Reuters.

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