Two prominent financiers have made two very different calls on the big banks. First J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon bought $26 million worth of company stock in February. Today Janus' Bill Gross came out saying that the big banks are a "permanently damaged victim of write-offs, tighter regulation, and significantly lower future margins." CLSA Bank Analyst Mike Mayo joined the "Halftime Report" experts to discuss if investors should buy--or bail.
Battle over the banks
Although the XLF remains in the red for the year, it is up 9% since Jamie Dimon bought 500,000 shares of J.P. Morgan stock on February 11th.
Siding with Dimon, Jon Najarian is bullish on the banks at current levels. He thinks that going into December's FOMC meeting was the time to sell the banks--not now, as Bill Gross argues. With some banks trading at 80% of book value, these levels look attractive to Najarian.
Weiss agrees, arguing that banks are at a greater-than-necessary discount. While he notes that banks are a "victim of tighter regulation" and that earnings models "have been permanently hurt" these negatives are already priced in. Because of that, the banks are a "buy right here."
Bill Gross' thesis is based on the premise that the United States will adopt negative interest rates, notes Pete Najarian. At this point, he doesn't foresee that happening. Like the rest of the desk, he's siding with Jamie Dimon on this one.
Noted CLSA bank analyst Mike Mayo also disagrees with Bill Gross's call.
"This is an epic disconnect between sentiment and bank fundamentals. I could not disagree more with Bill Gross. This is the first time in 20 years that we've recommended all of the four largest banks," Mayo said.
Trader disclosure: On March 3, 2016 the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC's "Halftime Report" were owned by the "Halftime Report" traders:
Jon Najarian: Long ABX, DISC, FDX, FXI, GDX, GDXJ, SCTY. Long calls AET, APA, BWLD, CA, COP, CY, FIT, JNJ, JOY, KATE, IP, MCD, MDLZ, MGM, MSFT, MYL, NEM, PBR, RCL, RLGY, SCHW, STO, SWHC
Pete Najarian: Long AAPL,BAC, BMY, DIS, DISCA, GE, KMI, KMI-A, KO, MRK, PEP, PFE, SAVE, VIAB. Long calls AAL, AMJ, BAC, DAL, EMR, FDX, GDX, GE, GM, HAIN, HBAN, KSS, LC, MCD, MDLZ, MPZ, NRF, POT, RHT, SLV, SWN, UAL, USG, WMB, WPX, WYNN, ZIOP. Long puts DB, EWH, RIG, VLO
Joe Terranova: Long VRTS
Steve Weiss: Long AAL, C, CVC, VIAB