Bank Stocks: Four Strong Picks (Believe it or Not)
Anton Schutz thinks banks have been getting a bad rap.
"We think that this group has been so battered, if you look at the technical indications, coming out of earnings reports every one of the last five quarters, you've seen this group bounce dramatically," the portfolio manager for Mendon Capital and Burnham Asset Management told CNBC.
Banks make up a substantial part of Schutz's holdings, and he's unapologetic about that.
"They're trading well below tangible book value, in many cases," he said. "I think the investing public has got it wrong. I think they're looking at tangible common equity rather than Tier I capital, and Tier I is what the regulators look at."
Schutz is looking at glasses that are half full:
"It's all part of a portfolio; they're all sized appropriately," he explained. "JP Morgan (Chase) is by far the strongest of the group, and they've got the biggest position in the portfolio."
How about other big banking names?
"Citigroup, at this point in time, with a three-dollar handle, if they make it — and I think they will — you're talking about a company that can earn $2.50 in a normalized environment," he said. "I don't care what multiple you put on it, but it's a lot higher than $3; Bank of America would earn $4 in a normal environment."
Even State Street figures in his scheme of things.
"We saw State Street write down a tremendous amount of value, but they've not written it down permanently," he said.
"Many of those assets perform just fine; they're paying their interest, and, actually, a re-fi boom could actually lead to an acceleration of these assets gaining in value, especially mortgage-backed."
Schutz's fund owns shares of JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, and State Street.