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Trading the Financials' Boom Year

Katie Little, News Associate
Wednesday, 2 Jan 2013 | 3:53 PM ET
Digital Vision | Getty Images

Following a surge in the financials sector in 2012, two analysts are divided over whether the stocks are now fully valued.

David Katz, the chief investment officer at Matrix Asset Advisors, predicted that the sector's fundamentals would continue to improve over the next year, drawing support from the housing market.

"We actually think we're in the very early innings of the financials doing better," Katz said.

Meanwhile, Paul Miller, an analyst at FBR Capital markets, remains "very concerned" about the financials and said he does not see the stocks moving much higher if companies do not post earnings growth.

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"Right now we think these financials are fully valued," Miller said. "But if we get some solid economic growth, (the) unemployment rate drops, you're going to see these stocks go higher. However, we need economic growth in 2013."

If interest rates inch higher, Miller listed Zions and Comerica among the names that would benefit.

"We have a view that rates are going to stay relatively dormant throughout 2012, and we like the pure plays on the financial side — the Flagstars and the PHHs," he said. "They're a little bit smaller, but we think the mortgage market is where you want to be and those pure plays are really going to take off this year."

Katz named Charles Schwab and State Street among the stocks with potential upside ahead. Interest-rate sensitive stocks were one group that did not perform as well within the financials last year, he added.

"We think eventually rates are going to start to tick higher," Katz said. "The stocks are going to start to move on that this year so that's a place where we think there's going to be some catch-up."

Miller stressed that low rates and poor economic growth are not going to lead to larger balance sheets for the financials.

"I know right now what people in the market like is growth, and right now financials do not deliver growth," he said. "Yeah, they were cheap in 2011 and they bounced back a little bit but there are still a lot of issues with financials."

— Written by CNBC's Katie Little. Follow her on Twitter @katie_little_

Additional News: Financials Surge 26% in 2012

Additional Views: Cheapest Bank Stocks for 2013

Disclsoure: No disclosure information was available for Paul Miller or David Katz.

Disclaimer

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ZION
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CMA
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FBC
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PHH
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SCHW
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STT
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