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Dick Bove: Europe ‘Irrelevant’ to US Banks

Financials led the S&P higher Friday amid optimism that the euro zone could come up with a solution of the debt crisis. But is the financial rally for real? And if so, how should you play it?

Dick Bove of Rochdale Securities is a buyer of the banks. While what’s happening in Europemay be the bottom line as far as the investor is concerned, he said it has nothing to do with the operating earnings of the companies.

“Whether [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel and [French President Nicolas] Sarkozy get together or not, as far as I’m concerned, is irrelevant,” he said.

France and Germany said in a joint statement that European leaders would discuss a global solution to the crisis at the EU summit on Sunday, but no decisions would be adopted before a second meeting by Wednesday the latest.

Bove said that regional banks, trust banks and national banks are doing well. In fact, he said the question is, “why shouldn’t you be buying these stocks?”

Big universal banks like Bank of America , Citigroup and JP Morganare all sitting on cash and equity, he said.

And that’s the reason that the “run” on Bank of America and Morgan Stanley failed. “Cash means something and these companies have a staggering amount of it,” Bove said.

Don’t count out Goldman Sachs either. Bove pointed out the company had a profit on an operating basis. The loss, he said, came from the assets they own, which won’t be there in the next few quarters.

“The company’s model is not broken,” Bove insisted.

While investors don’t typically like regional banks, the depositors certainly do. Almost every regional bank in the U.S. beat earnings expectations this quarter, he said. He likes U.S. Bancorp and PNC , which have seen an increase in their deposits and an increase in loans, which in turn gave them better-than-expected earnings.

And as far as the trust banks go, Bove has his eye on Bank of New York Mellon , State Street and Northern Trust .

“These companies have cash and securities which are roughly six to eight times their capitalization,” he noted.


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