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Bank Stocks Move Higher as Strong Jobs Report Offsets Tapering Talk

U.S. Bancorp

Also on Wednesday, Jim Cramer said he was " really annoyed" with a downgrade by Credit Suisse of U.S. Bancorp USB to a "neutral" rating from an "outperform" rating, since the company "just picked some great branches," and because "has historically been one of the best banks in the country."

U.S. Bancorp on Tuesday announced a deal to acquire Charter One's Bank's 94 branches in Chicago from RBS Citizens Financial Group, which is a subsidiary of Royal Bank of Scotland RBS.  USB will take on 800 Charter One employees, along with $5.3 billion in deposits and $1.1 billion in loans, paying a premium of $315 million, or 6%, on the deposits.

For the first three quarters of 2013, U.S. Bancorp's return on average tangible common equity (ROTCE) was 24.18%, which was, by far, the strongest performance among the 24 components of the KBW Bank Index.

Over the previous three full years through 2012, U.S. Bancorp's ROTCE improved from 18.36% during 2010 to 22.28% during 2012, according to Thomson Reuters Bank Insight.

U.S. Bancorp's stock rose 0.4% Wednesday to close at $41.09.

The shares trade for 3.1 times tangible book value, and for 11.3 times the consensus 2015 earnings estimate of $3.65 a share, among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.  The consensus 2014 EPS estimate is $3.19.   That price-to-tangible book value ratio is rather high, but it reflects USB's status as a consistently strong earner, with few of the surprises that have plagued so many other large banks.  The forward P/E valuation is a different story, representing a rather slight premium to other large-cap banks with considerably weaker track records.

The following chart shows USB's performance against the KBW Bank Index and the S&P 500 (^GSPC) since the end of 2011: 

USB ChartUSB data by YCharts

-- 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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