NEW YORK (
Bank of America
and 19 other banks received reduced price targets from Goldman Sachs analysts on Thursday.
Goldman's analysts cited "renewed concerns surrounding the global economic outlook" and the S&P downgrade of the U.S. triple-A rating. While the analysts do not expect "2008 all over again," they believe "an extended low rate, low growth environment" will take its toll on the sector.
On average they reduced 2012 and 2013 earnings per share estimates by 7% and 10%, respectively, while reducing price targets by an average of 13%.
Bank of America remained a "buy," in the view of Goldman's analysts, but saw its price target drop by 23% to $10 from $13. Goldman also lowered 2012 estimates by 17% while lowering 2013 estimates by 18%.
"The market remains concerned over its Basel III capital position...which has been a major contributor to its stock falling over 25% to $7 over the past two weeks," the analysts write.
They argue confidence in Bank of America's ability to reach its Basel III target by the fourth quarter of 2012 has declined due to objections to a proposed $8.5 billion settlement over mortgage backed securities (MBS), sovereign debt issues, increased MBS lawsuits and macro concerns.
"While it is difficult to assess how big some of these items could potentially be (particularly the legal liability), we ultimately believe
Bank of America has several levers to pull that could generate non-dilutive capital before doing a capital raise, including asset sales like its
China Construction Bank stake, the rest of its BA Merchant Services JV, or securities in an unrealized gain position." Goldman estimates these assets could raise $13 billion if sold.
The biggest price target cut went to
First Horizon National Corp.
, where the target was slashed to $8.50 from $11. The report said nothing in particular about the bank, though one graphic showed its reserve release to be significantly higher than most peers.
Citigroup saw a 21% downward revision in its price target--to $41 from $52, while
saw just a 9% price target cut--to $49 from $54.
saw Goldman's analysts lower their target 11% to $33.
Written by Dan Freed in New York
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