Goldman Still Bullish on Morgan, Citigroup

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) and Citigroup ( C) are still the top bank picks for Goldman Sachs' analysts, according to a report published Thursday.

On JPMorgan, the analysts argue shares will climb as the firm releases capital it had set aside to protect against investor put-backs on so-called private label mortgage-backed securities, a term that refers to MBS that wasn't guaranteed by housing giants Fannie Mae ( FNMA.OB) and Freddie Mac ( FMCC.OB). As for Citigroup, Goldman's analysts cite an "attractive valuation" and "exposure to growth markets."

Goldman's analysts downplayed weak performance from large-cap banks in the fourth quarter, chalking it up to "seasonality," as trading tends to be slower in the fourth quarter.

"We still believe that capital returns, clarity over regulation and continued growth in book values should support large cap banks in 2011," the report states.

Shares of JPMorgan were up 1.57% in early trading, with Citigroup shares higher by 0.62%. Shares of most other large-cap banks, including Wells Fargo ( WFC), Bank of America ( BAC), PNC Financial ( PNC)and U.S. Bancorp ( USB)were also higher in early trading.

-- Written by Dan Freed in New York.

Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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