CNBC Stock Blog

Cyprus Aside, Big US Banks Will Rise Further: Analyst

Too Soon to Invest in Financials?

The big U.S. banks are largely immune to the problems in Cyprus and should continue to move higher this year, says one analyst.

"The U.S. banking system is on much stronger footing than it's been on in a long time," Jason Goldberg of Barclays told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" on Tuesday. He cited record capital levels, record liquidity, improving credit quality and increasing earnings.

After an 11 percent run up so far this year, U.S. financial stocks have taken a breather on worries about the potential knock-on effects from the Cyprus bailout.

He said on days where global risks resurface, banks like Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and Bank of America tend to underperform irrespective of whether they have exposure to Cyprus, Goldberg said.

As those fears subside, the big U.S. banks should resume their advance, he added.

"We're biased to the bigger banks given their valuations are a little lower, and they are more exposed to the capital markets which we think over the year will be a constructive place to be," he said. In particular, Goldberg favors Citigroup and JPMorgan.

Banks analyst Meredith Whitney also sees strong gains for some of the big banks like Bank of America. She told CNBC on Monday, "What's amazing about this is very rarely do these big banks have value, catalyst and momentum."

Bank of America had all of that, she said. While the stock is up 20 percent in the past three months, Whitney sees probably another 20 percent upside from here.

Goldberg said he expects that "from now towards the end of the year, the group has the capacity to work higher." He noted that coming out of the stress test, many of the banks he covers increased their dividends and are buying back stock. He also continues to expect tangible book value growth as well.

How much higher may depend on how quickly the U.S. economy improves.

"The group is putting up decent numbers despite the fact you have more subdued economic growth and persistent low interest rates," the analyst said. "If we ever get the U.S. economy back working again to more desirable GDP growth and a little bit higher interest rates I think there's a fair amount of upside."

Additional News: Will Cyprus Derail Draghi's Good Work?

Additional Views: 'You Have to Be Bullish,' on US Stocks: Whitney



Goldberg and his family own shares of Citigroup and JPMorgan. Barclays or an affiliate received compensation for investment banking services from WFC, BAC, C, JPM in the past 12 months.