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JPMorgan Still Among Cheapest Bank Stocks (Update 1)

Stocks in this article: JPM BAC C WFC MS GS

But for investors who are keen on the state of the banking industry and have been pushing bank valuations up so rapidly, JPMorgan still appears to worthy of consideration as a long-term play. The company earns more money than any other U.S. bank and has remained profitable through thick and thin, and recently reported another quarter of strong earnings results, setting records for average loans and credit card sales volume. JPMorgan's second-quarter return on tangible common equity was a solid 17%.

Sterne Agee analyst Todd Hagerman sees 15% upside for JPMorgan's shares over the next 12 months, with a price target of $65.00. The analyst on July 15 raised his 2014 EPS estimate for JPMorgan to $6.30 from $6.15, and he estimates earnings will grow to $6.80 a share in 2015.

Because JPMorgan's results were in part driven by a $1.4 billion release of loan loss reserves, Hagerman in a note to clients wrote "the relative strength of reported earnings is not sustainable in the near term," but added that "JPM's diversified business model offers a fair amount of earnings leverage heading into '14."

JPMorgan's shares were down 1% in afternoon trading, to $56.16.

Rafferty Capita Markets analyst Richard Bove in a Thursday note to investors took a similar tone to Mutascio, in pointing out the risks of an overheated market to investors. When discussing the market environment for large-cap bank stocks, Bove wrote "these stocks are still cheap and that they should be bought," and that investors "look for those that have shown core earnings growth."

However, at this moment, it appears that any bank stock will do as long as it has the name bank in it," Bove wrote. "That is dangerous investing."

JPM Chart JPM data by YCharts

Interested in more on JPMorgan Chase? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.

-- Written by Philip van Doorn in Jupiter, Fla.

>Contact by Email.

Philip W. van Doorn is a member of TheStreet's banking and finance team, commenting on industry and regulatory trends. He previously served as the senior analyst for Ratings, responsible for assigning financial strength ratings to banks and savings and loan institutions. Mr. van Doorn previously served as a loan operations officer at Riverside National Bank in Fort Pierce, Fla., and as a credit analyst at the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, where he monitored banks in New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico. Mr. van Doorn has additional experience in the mutual fund and computer software industries. He holds a bachelor of science in business administration from Long Island University.
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