NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Perennial favorite JPMorgan Chase (JPM) - Get JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) Report remains the bank stock most loved by analysts as banks prepare to report third quarter earnings with JPMorgan, Wells Fargo (WFC) - Get Wells Fargo & Company Report and Citigroup (C) - Get Citigroup Inc. Report kicking things off on Tuesday.
Twenty nine analysts have Buy ratings on JPMorgan shares, while nine have Hold ratings and just one has a Sell rating, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That adds up to a better consensus rating than any other U.S. bank among the 10 largest institutions, based by assets, including the three other U.S. banking giants, Citigroup, Bank of America (BAC) - Get Bank of America Corp Report , and Wells Fargo. JPMorgan was also the analyst favorite at this time last year.
"We have said often that JPM is arguably the world's strongest large bank and that it should be worth a lot more than 1.35x tangible book value and 9.9x our 2015 EPS estimates," wrote Oppenheimer analyst Chris Kotowski in a report published Sept. 11. "We expect that by the end of 2014 and beyond, litigation expense will diminish very substantially, and that over time, the distrust of large banks by investors will be replaced by a fondness for the boringly stable nature of the bulk of their earnings during the 'normal' part of the cycle."
Kotowski also calls JPMorgan "a good combination of quality and value, two things that rarely come together."
JPMorgan shares have returned just 3.27% to investors this year, compared to 6.50% for the S&P 500 and 14.86% for Wells Fargo. Analysts are looking for JPMorgan to earn $1.38 per share in the third quarter, versus a loss of 17 cents in the same period a year ago.
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