Stocks are sagging Thursday morning. Many of the individual financial companies are also lower, but so too is the overall sector, with the Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLF) - Get Report falling 75 basis points to $25.09 in early trading.
This comes despite Wells Fargo analyst Mike Mayo upgrading a number of large banks and placing several market perform ratings across the board. Mayo, who's become a rather notable analyst in the banking community, placed a slew of market perform ratings on the following banks: BB&T Corporation (BBT) - Get Report , Bank of New York Mellon Corp (BK) - Get Report , Comerica Incorporated (CMA) - Get Report , Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB) - Get Report , KeyCorp (KEY) - Get Report , M&T Bank Corporation (MTB) - Get Report , Northern Trust Corporation (NTRS) - Get Report , Regions Financial Corporation (RF) - Get Report , PNC Financial Services Group Inc. (PNC) - Get Report and UBS Group AG (USA) (UBS) - Get Report .
He was more positive on other small- to medium-sized banks, placing an outperform rating on the following: State Street Corp (STT) - Get Report , SunTrust Banks Inc. (STI) - Get Report and Zions Bancorp (ZION) - Get Report .
Mayo's coverage didn't stop there. He also initiated or resumed coverage on big banks. He hit JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) - Get Report with an outperform rating and $110 price target, implying about 18% upside from current levels. He resumed coverage of Bank of America Corp (BAC) - Get Report with an outperform rating and $30 price target, implying about 20% upside from current levels.
Instead, Mayo said he likes Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS) - Get Report , which he assigned an outperform rating and $265 price target. The target implies about 15% upside from current levels. Why Goldman over Morgan? The former has historically grown organic revenues at a far faster rate, while earnings growth has also been far superior at Goldman Sachs.
Here are Goldman's top bank stock buys for the rest of 2017.
Saving the best for last, Mayo also assigned Citigroup Inc (C) - Get Report with an outperform rating and $90 price target, implying about 32% upside from current levels. Further, he called Citigroup his top pick on the large cap U.S. bank list and also assigned Citigroup to the Priority Stock List. C stock could double in the next four to five years, he added, thanks to industry-leading improvements in cost of capital and return on equity.
The bottom line according to Mayo? Stay bullish on large-cap bank stocks.
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This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author had no positions in the stocks mentioned.