Top 7 Financial Stocks to Own for 2017

Financial stocks have done well in recent months, as the Federal Reserve embarks on a path of raising interest rates and the global economy continues to strengthen. There are still good values out there for investors if they know where to look.
 
Credit Suisse has put together a list of 140 "top ideas" covered by its analysts, using several parameters to weed out weaker companies and pick only the best ideas. Market caps, growth and valued companies, as well as a variety of different sectors were chosen.
 
As part of the investment process, each analyst ranked up to three stocks on a six and twelve month time horizon, only picking "high conviction ideas." Since not every analyst had three stocks that could make the list, they were allowed to pick fewer than three names.
 
TheStreet looked at some of the recommendations from analysts and broke it down even further, looking at seven of the best finance stocks from Credit Suisse's U.S. Focus List.
 
 

Blackstone Group
Blackstone Group

Name: Blackstone Group

Market Cap: $35.1 billion

Recent Price: $29.49

Price Target: $40

Credit Suisse analyst Craig Siegenthaler thinks Blackstone Group (BX)  is likely to improve its earnings power, as assets under management grow.

"Key to our investment thesis is BX's ability to innovate product and raise large amounts of capital," the analyst wrote to investors. "Over the past three years, Blackstone has raised a similar level of capital to its four largest public competitors combined, and has generated the strongest FE AuM growth rate (despite being the largest)."

JP Morgan
JP Morgan

Name: JP Morgan

Market Cap: $309.8 billion

Recent Price: $87.04

Price Target: $96

Credit Suisse analyst Susan Katzke thinks JP Morgan (JPM)  benefits from having Jamie Dimon and his executive team in place and its ability to keep an eye on expenses.

"Best-in-class execution, including organic revenue growth through investment in the bank's well-integrated, market share leading financial services businesses, coupled with a willingness to tightly manage expenses, and optimize capital should drive better than average earnings growth and returns on equity for JPMorgan," Katzke wrote. "Fourth quarter 2016 and CCAR results were consistent with our confidence in recommending this stock."

Goldman Sachs
Goldman Sachs

Name: Goldman Sachs

Market Cap: $90.4 billion

Recent Price: $228.07

Price Target: $260

Credit Suisse analyst Christian Bolu is high on Goldman Sachs (GS)  as it has a "best-in-class brokerage franchise," along with several other factors.

"We view GS as a best-in-class brokerage franchise with solid market positioning across myriad of client businesses and a strong balance sheet," Bolu wrote. "With a proven ability to gain and sustain market share across the franchise and a long track record of performance and achieving premier returns, we expect GS will continue to deliver fundamental results that are at the high end of the peer group."

Ameriprise Financial
Ameriprise Financial

Name: Ameriprise Financial

Market Cap: $19.8 billion

Recent Price: $129.04

Price Target: $154

Credit Suisse analyst John Nadel is high on Ameriprise Financial (AMP)  as the risk and reward outlook is better than the rest of its competitors.

"AMP is one of our top picks reflecting attractive valuation, much improved risk/reward (particularly relative to the group), and solid upside leverage to both the short and long-ends of the yield curve," Nadel wrote to investors. "While AMP shares have outperformed our coverage list average since the election, AMP has underperformed vs. a blend of peers with similar business mix, and AMP is the only stock in our coverage with significant positive leverage to the short end of the yield curve (i.e., Fed hikes)." 

AIG
AIG

Name: American International Group

Market Cap: $60.3 billion

Recent Price: $61.57

Price Target: $72

Credit Suisse analyst Ryan Tunis is high on AIG (AIG)  as the company's risk profile has improved.

"After reviewing annual reserve data, we have found evidence that reserve risk is smaller for several previously problematic lines of business," Tunis wrote to investors. "In addition, the area with the most underwriting and reserve risk is being rapidly cut (40% during 2016). We believe 2018 sets up to be another year in which capital return exceeds GAAP earnings as a result of DTA utilization, legacy portfolio divestitures, and non-strategic business sales."

Nationstar Mortgage Holdings
Nationstar Mortgage Holdings

Name: Nationstar Mortgage Holdings

Market Cap: $1.6 billion

Recent Price: $15.86

Price Target: $22

Credit Suisse analyst Doug Harter is bullish on Nationstar Mortgage Holdings (NSM)  as the business improved in 2016 and it looks to get better in 2017.

"This shift toward a less capital-intensive business model should allow for better returns on capital and better free cash flow generation," Harter wrote. "NSM currently trades at 1.1x book value, without factoring in any value for Xome (NSM's end-to-end online real estate services platform). As returns on capital improve, we see this discount narrowing." 

Synchrony Financial
Synchrony Financial

Name: Synchrony Financial

Market Cap: $26.9 billion

Recent Price: $33.69

Price Target: $43

Credit Suisse analyst Moshe Orenbuch is bullish on Synchrony Financial (SYF)  given its simple structure.

"Epitomizes the Lend-Centric model with strong receivables growth (exceeds that of the general card industry), a protected customer base, built-in credit protection, and has started to return capital," Orenbuch wrote. 

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