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Key investor: Citi's stock is ‘ridiculously cheap’

Waiting for 'all clear' from Fed on Citigroup

Despite recent declines in its stock price, Citigroup remains attractive, Mendon Capital Advisors President and CIO Anton Schutz said Monday.

"It was nice to get a positive surprise out of Citi," he said, following the company's first-quarter earnings call. "Even if they hadn't had a good number, the stock is ridiculously cheap to tangible book value, which is $56 a share. They're building a lot of excess capital. Eventually, they'll return it."

Schutz runs Burnham Financial Long/Short Fund (BURCX), which was ranked the best financial fund for the first quarter by Barron's and got a four-star rating from Morningstar.

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On CNBC's "Halftime Report," Schutz said investors appeared to have been surprised by Citi. In March, Citigroup's stock plummeted after the bank failed the Federal Reserve's stress test, also known as the Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review.

"It's very clear from this earnings season and the momentum stocks, everybody was long Citi going into (the stress test)," he said. "They all dumped it and destroyed it, and it looks like not a lot of people were long going into Citi's earnings today, which was why it was up so much."

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Schutz said that there was opportunity in going against the trend.

"The stocks really tend to trade the opposite of where the crowd has been, and the crowd is not deeply into Citi these days, so I think there's upside."

There could be time to get into the stock, he added.

"There's no reason to rush into it, but I think once you get the Fed that gives them the all-clear—and you don't know when that is—the stock will pop, and it'll pop materially. If the emerging markets calm down—we don't know if they're going to calm dawn—the stock will pop," Schutz said. "I'm not sure it's got a ton more downside to it given the big discount it trades at. No one's expecting perfection out of these guys. They've just got to hit some stuff, some singles here."

Schutz also said that he liked banks with strong capital profiles and those ramping up buybacks.

TFS Financial, he added, "just got out of regulatory purgatory, and they've got tons of excess capital;" and Investors Bancorp has an upcoming second-step transaction that would increase its book value in May. "And I think the stock's 30 percent upside here for a patient investor," Schutz added.

"I love too much capital in this tape," he said. "I like catalysts, and both of those stocks have catalysts."

Disclosure: Schutz's funds own shares of Citigroup, Bank of America, TFS Financial and Investors Bancorp.