Financial stocks got wrecked last week. Here are three names to buy

It was a nailbiter of a week. After sell-offs on Monday and Thursday, the S&P 500 and Dow Jones gave up year-to-date gains and closed its second week in the red for the first time since mid-November.

The financials sector, the darling of January, was swept up in the chaos. For the week, the XLF Financials ETF tumbled 6 percent, its second week in the red. Banks are now down 7 percent for the month, on track for their worst performance since June 2016.

This kind of damage presents an opportunity for investors to buy the dip in banks, says Mark Tepper, president of Strategic Wealth Partners, who is bullish on the sector. Here's why.

  • A more hawkish Federal Reserve ready to raise rates at a faster pace could spook equities markets. But higher rates should help increase bank earnings. Rising interest rates should expand net interest margins.
  • Consumer confidence is close to all-time highs, which should keep consumer financing in good health. Confidence rose in January — it hit its highest mark since 2000 in November.
  • The small-business optimism index is also near all-time highs, which should lead to growth in commercial and industrial loans.

Tepper's favorite picks? J.P. Morgan, U.S. Bank and KeyCorp. Those three are at least 6 percent from their 52-week highs and have price-to-earnings ratios of between 12 to 13 times forward earnings, lower than the S&P 500's ratio of 16 times.

In short, keep calm amid the sell-off and buy the banking dip.

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Sara Eisen joined CNBC in December 2013 as a correspondent, focusing on the global consumer. She is co-anchor of the 10AM ET hour of CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" (M-F, 9AM-11AM ET), broadcast from Post 9 at the New York Stock Exchange.

In March 2018, Eisen was named co-anchor of CNBC's "Power Lunch" (M-F, 1PM-3PM ET), which broadcasts from CNBC Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

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