NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- JPMorgan Chase (JPM) is analysts' top pick among the largest U.S. bank stocks going into 2015, handily beating peers such as Bank of America (BAC) , Citigroup (C) and Wells Fargo (WFC) , according to an analysis of Bloomberg data by TheStreet.
Thirty analysts have "buy" recommendations on JPMorgan, while 10 have "holds," and none have "sell" ratings on the stock. That is a better ratio than that of any of the other 10 largest U.S. banks by market cap. As a group, the 40 analysts tracked by Bloomberg have an average target price of $67.59 on the stock, reflecting projected upside of nearly 11%. JPMorgan is the largest U.S. bank by assets, with more than $2.5 trillion through the second half of 2014, according to Federal Reserve Data.
In a report published Thursday, Raymond James analysts Anthony Polini and Daniel Marchon cited JPMorgan's "attractive valuation, superior balance sheet strength, and league-leading investment banking platform," in reiterating their strong "buy" on the stock. They have a $72 target price on JPMorgan compared to its roughly $61 price in late trading Thursday, suggesting upside of 18%.
Another JPMorgan bull is RBC Capital Markets analyst Gerard Cassidy, who argues the giant lender is "the best managed money-center bank of its size." Money-center banks are lenders with a large global presence, such as Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo.
Less optimistic analysts include Keefe Bruyette & Woods' Chris Mutascio and Daniel Coffman, who rate the shares "market perform" with a $64 target price.
"While the shares are relatively inexpensive, trading at just 9.4x our 2016 EPS estimate, we are maintaining our 'Market Perform' rating as we believe there is some downside risk to both our estimates and the consensus estimates -- especially if the Fed were to maintain interest rates lower for longer," they wrote earlier this week.