Updated with comments from Credit Suisse about PNC's expected compliance with Basel III capital requirements, in mid-2014.NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Following the banking sector's remarkable first-quarter run, Jefferies analyst Ken Usdin on Monday highlighted his five "top long-term picks." "At 12x 2013 earnings" estimates, Usdin said that current price "valuation seems pretty fair" for most of the banks covered by Jefferies, and said "the group will likely need even-better loan growth" than analysts expect, "to power through from here." Of course, some of the best-known banking names outside of Usdin's coverage universe are trading at much lower multiples to forward earnings:
- Shares of Bank of America (BAC) closed at $9.57 Friday, returning 72% year-to-date, following a 58% plunge during 2011. The shares trade for just eight times the consensus 2013 EPS estimate of $1.20, among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. Bank of America is also trading at a heavily discounted 0.8 times tangible book value, according to HighlineFI.
- Citigroup (C) closed at $36.55 Friday, returning 39% year-to-date, following last year's 44% drop. Citi trades trades for eight times the consensus 2013 EPS estimate of $4.78. The shares are also discounted to 0.7 times tangible book value.
- JPMorgan Chase closed at $45.98 Friday, returning 39% year-to-date, following a 20% decline during 2011. While JPMorgan is generally considered a safer play than BAC or Citi, with the shares trading for 1.5 times tangible book value, the shares still appear cheap to forward earnings, trading for eight times the consensus 2013 EPS estimate of $5.52.
Shares of PNC Financial Services Group ( PNC) of Pittsburgh closed at $64.49 Friday, returning 12% during the first quarter, following a 3% decline during 2011.
Shares of SunTrust of Atlanta closed at $24.17 Friday, returning 37% year-to-date, following last year's 40% decline.
Shares of First Midwest Bancorp ( FMBI) of Itasca, Ill., closed at $11.98 Friday, returning 18% year-to-date, following a 12% decline during 2011.
Shares of First Niagara Financial Group ( FNFG) of Buffalo, N.Y., closed at $9.84, returning 15% year-to-date, following a 35% decline during 2011.
Shares of Western Alliance Bancorp ( WAL) of Phoenix closed at $8.47 Friday, returning 36% year-to-date, following a 15% decline during 2011.