JPMorgan Chase

JPMorgan Chase (JPM - Get Report) shares on Monday were downgraded to neutral from buy at Buckingham Research, which said the banking giant has posted "best-in-class top-line growth and returns in recent years" but is now expensive relative to its peer group.

The stock "is likely to lag less expensive peers," analyst James Mitchell said, pointing particularly to Citigroup (C - Get Report) shares.

But the analyst said "we still view JPMorgan as an attractive story for long-term holders, given its above-average growth prospects, increasing scalability and operating leverage via technology, and not overly expensive valuation on an absolute basis."

Buckingham affirmed its $122 target price on the stock, which on Monday was trading down 0.9% at $119.10.

JPMorgan shares have doubled in the past five years, against the median 30% increase for peers, Mitchell said.

It trades at 11.6 times estimated earnings per share for the next 12 months, 28% above the median of its peers at 9.1 times.

Mitchell defined the peers as Bank of America (BAC - Get Report) , Citigroup, Goldman Sachs (GS - Get Report) , Morgan Stanley (MS - Get Report) and Wells Fargo (WFC - Get Report) .

JPMorgan Chase stock at its current level provides a 3.1% dividend yield.

["Investors] continue to underestimate JPMorgan's long-term opportunities for market-share and efficiency gains, particularly within" the consumer sector, Mitchell wrote. 

The "digital transformation of the banking industry and the large banks' efforts to leverage their sizable scale advantages -- one-stop shopping, convenience, and investment heft" -- are "still [in] the early days," he said.

"This should provide a long-term tailwind for JPMorgan with respect to" acquiring more customers -- "new geographic expansion via digital banking could add 80 million consumers to [its] target market -- and cost savings via automation."

Among the banking-major peers, Bank of America fell 1% to $29.87, Goldman Sachs eased 1.1% to $217.58, Morgan Stanley dropped 1.2% to $44.60 and Wells Fargo slipped 0.8% to $48.56.

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