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BOSTON (TheStreet) -- Financial stocks, once the front-runners of the bull market, have fallen out of favor as investors moved into technology and industrial shares earlier this year. In the meantime, financials' balance sheets and revenue streams have improved, but with little notice. The following 10 S&P 500 financial stocks receive the best aggregate ratings from analysts, indicating positive sentiment on Wall Street. Several trade at sizable discounts to peers and could deliver big gains in 2011. Below, they are ordered by net rating.

10.

Aflac

(AFL) - Get Aflac Incorporated Report

is an insurance company, specializing in supplemental health and life.

Its stock has fallen 5% in the past 12 months and 6.2% in 2011, despite improving fundamentals. Sales and net income have grown 14% and 57%, respectively, over a trailing four-quarter period. Aflac's fourth-quarter revenue grew 15% and net income and earnings per share surged 73%, as the insurer's operating margin widened from 8% to 13%. Aflac's stock trades at a forward earnings multiple of 8, a book value multiple of 2.3 and a cash flow multiple of 3.6, massive discounts to insurance peer averages. A disproportionate 70% of analysts rate it "buy."

9.

MetLife

(MET) - Get MetLife, Inc. Report

sells insurance, group benefits and financial services, focusing on life insurance.

Its stock has dropped 2.8% in the past 12 months and less than 1% in 2011. MetLife's sales and net profit have increased 28% and 224% in the past 12 months. It suffered net losses in the first three quarters of 2009, but then posted a profit in each quarter of 2010. Yet, fourth-quarter earnings tumbled 85% to five cents, hurt by one-time charges. MetLife's stock sells for a forward earnings multiple of 7.7, a book value multiple of 0.9 and a cash flow multiple of 5.5, discounts of up to 90% to insurance peer averages. Roughly 77% of researchers rank it "buy."

8.

State Street

(STT) - Get State Street Corporation Report

is an asset manager and custody bank for institutional investors.

Its stock has declined 5.4% in the past year and is down 1.8% year-to-date. State Street's trailing 12-month sales and net income have increased 3.8% and 182%, respectively. But, fourth-quarter net income and earnings per share plummeted 83%, as the bank incurred a restructuring charge and repositioned its investment portfolio. State Street's stock trades at a forward earnings multiple of 11, a book value multiple of 1.3 and a sales multiple of 2.4, 20%, 30% and 11% industry discounts. State Street receives positive reviews from 77% of analysts in coverage.

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7.

PNC Financial

(PNC) - Get PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. Report

offers retail and commercial banking in the Midwest and South.

Its stock has dropped 5.4% in the past 12 months and is down 1.8% in 2011. PNC's trailing 12-month sales have fallen 6.7%, but net income has stretched 39%. Fourth-quarter profit dropped 28% to $823 million, or $1.50 a share, though the operating margin jumped from 10% to 19%. The quarterly drop is attributable to a one-time gain recorded in the year-earlier quarter. PNC's stock sells for a forward earnings multiple of 10, a book value multiple of 1.1 and a cash flow multiple of 6.9, 29%, 11% and 53% peer discounts. Roughly 77% of analysts covering the stock rate it "buy."

6.

Simon Property Group

(SPG) - Get Simon Property Group, Inc. Report

is a real estate investment trust that owns shopping malls.

Its stock has appreciated 23% in the past 12 months and is up 5.5% so far in 2011. Simon's trailing 12-month revenue and profit have risen 5.7% and 99%, respectively. During the fourth quarter, sales grew 8.8%, but net income and earnings per share more than doubled. Simon pays a quarterly distribution of 80 cents, equal to an annual yield of 3.1%. Its stock trades at a forward earnings multiple of 31, a sizable market premium, but a discount of nearly 58% to REIT peer averages. It's fairly valued based on cash flow. Around 76% of analysts rate the stock "buy."

5.

MasterCard

(MA) - Get Mastercard Incorporated Class A Report

is a credit card company, competing with the likes of

Visa

(V) - Get Visa Inc. Class A Report

.

Its stock has inched up 1.5% in the past 12 months, but has climbed 18% already in 2011. MasterCard's trailing 12-month sales have ascended 8.6% and its net profit has expanded 26%. Fourth-quarter revenue grew 11%, but earnings per share soared 41% as the operating margin extended from 37% to 40%, ranking in the 98th percentile for the industry. MasterCard's stock sells for a forward earnings multiple of 14, a 26% discount to the industry average. The company has $4.2 billion of cash and minimal debt. Around 83% of researchers covering MasterCard rank it "buy."

4.

Ace

(ACE)

sells general, excess, automobile and property insurance as well as reinsurance worldwide.

Its stock has appreciated 26% in the past 12 months and has risen 7% so far in 2011. Ace's 12-month trailing sales increased 6.2% as its profit jumped 22%. Fourth-quarter revenue grew 3.2%, net income ascended 5% and earnings per share inched up 3.9%. Ace is one of the most consistently profitable insurers, having stayed in the black for every quarter of the financial crisis. Its stock trades at a forward earnings multiple of 9.1, a sales multiple of 1.4 and a cash flow multiple of 6.4, massive peer and market discounts. Roughly 83% of analysts rate it "buy."

3.

Visa

(V) - Get Visa Inc. Class A Report

is a credit-card company, with 38% market share based on transaction volume.

Its stock has dropped 17% over a 12-month time frame, but has risen nearly 10% year-to-date. Visa's trailing 12-month revenue is up 17% and net income and earnings per share have gained 21% and 25%, respectively. Fourth-quarter sales climbed 14%, net income rose 16% and earnings per share expanded 21% as the company's operating margin widened from 60% to 61%, ranking at the top of its industry. Visa's stock trades at a forward earnings multiple of 14 and a book value multiple of 2.2, 25% and 74% peer discounts. Around 85% of analysts rate it "buy."

2.

Prudential Financial

(PRU) - Get Prudential Financial, Inc. Report

is a life and health insurer and financial-services company.

Its stock has declined 2.3% in the past 12 months, but has rallied 5% so far in 2011. Prudential's 12-month sales have gained 18%, but net income has inched up just 2.3% and earnings per share have dropped 23% due to dilution and charges. Prudential's fourth-quarter net income plummeted 91% due to charges, adjustments and realized investment losses. The operating margin fell from 13% to 5%. The stock sells for a forward earnings multiple of 8.3 and a cash flow multiple of 4.6, massive peer discounts. Roughly 81% of analysts covering Prudential rate its stock "buy."

1.

JPMorgan Chase

(JPM) - Get JPMorgan Chase & Co. Report

is a diversified financial company, with retail-, commercial- and investment-banking units.The company is scheduled to report its

first-quarter earnings

today, before the open.

Its stock has ascended less than 2% over 12 months, but has appreciated nearly 11% in 2011. JPMorgan's trailing 12-month sales have declined marginally, but its net income has jumped 48% and earnings per share have surged 78%. The bank recently quintupled its quarterly dividend to 25 cents. Fourth-quarter earnings soared 51% year-over-year as the operating margin extended from 33% to 48%. JPMorgan's stock trades at a forward earnings multiple of 8.4, a 24% peer discount. It ranks as researchers' favorite

Dow

stock, with 85% of analysts ranking it "buy."

-- Written by Jake Lynch in Boston.

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