BofA, JPMorgan Best Bets for Banks: Analyst

Thursday, 21 Aug 2008 | 8:50 PM ET

If you're going to risk investing in financials, invest in the ones that are assured to survive the credit fallout.

Your best bets -- Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase, a strategist told CNBC's Asia Squawk Box Friday.

Betting on Survivors: BOA and JPMorgan
If you're going to risk buying financials, invest in the ones that will survive the credit fallout. Paul Larson, equities strategist at Morningstar thinks the best bets are Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase. He tells CNBC's Amanda Drury and Sri Jegarajah why.

"These two firms recently have acquired some weaker competitors, but even after these acquisitions, their balance sheets are in pretty decent shape", said Paul Larson, an Equities Strategist at Morningstar. (Watch the complete Paul Larsoninterview on braving the financial sector.)

To be seen as well capitalized in the eyes of regulators, you have to stay above 6 percent. Both banks are well above that number.

"If you look at their balance sheets ... at their tier one ratios, Bank of America is just under 8 percent and JP slightly above ... that's telling you they're well capitalized," Larson said.

"In the most recent quarter, JPMorgan actually expanded their loan book. Everyone else here in the U.S. is contracting ... (but) JPMorgan has the money to go out and make more loans and I think that's telling of their financial strength in this time of weakness," Larson said.

Larson adds that Lehman Brothers is a bank that he's not looking at, even after Ladenburg Thalmann's Richard Bove raised his rating on Lehman overnight to 'Buy'.

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