Financials are a buy, says Barclays analyst

Key Points
  • Large-cap financials are a buy, says Barclays senior equity analyst Jason Goldberg.
  • Higher interest rates, a sound economic backdrop and increased volatility make the group attractive, he says.
  • Goldberg recommends Citigroup, J.P. Morgan and Wells Fargo.
Analyst: Why the financials are very attractive right now

Large-cap banks are a buy, said Barclays analyst Jason Goldberg.

"This is the third consecutive year we expect to see manager's margin expansion," Goldberg told CNBC, referring to a metric used to compare a firm's investment with its debt. "You haven't seen that since the 1970s."

Goldberg said several attributes make financials "very attractive": continued growth, credit quality, positive operating leverage and expense control aided by technology and retail branch reduction, positive capital return with increasing dividend to buy back and the prospect of deregulation.

"The group has a lot of excess capital," Goldberg said Monday on "Power Lunch." "They're going to make a lot more earnings this year, aided by lower tax rates. And we think they're going to return a decent amount of that back to shareholders."

Higher interest rates and a "sound economic backdrop" are the top reasons why this group is a buy, said Goldberg, who is managing director and senior equity analyst at Barclays. He pointed out that increased volatility also helps trading revenues.

"For the biggest banks you've seen very stable trading revenues over the last several years amid very low volatility," Goldberg said. "This year you've really seen volatility increase across asset classes. Obviously, equities get a lot of play. But you've seen increases in interest rate volatility and foreign exchange volatility."

Financial stocks have risen 5.37 percent since the Feb. 9 low, as the Dow Jones industrial average dropped more than 1,000 points. Other sectors to bounce back since last Friday's low are technology, consumer discretionary, materials and industrials.

In financials, Goldberg recommends Citigroup, J.P. Morgan and Wells Fargo. Barclays is overweight on Wells Fargo with a $71 price target.

"Certainly Wells Fargo did a lot of things wrong in the past," Goldberg said. "As we look ahead, we think they have the ability to manage within that asset cap the Fed put on them relatively well. ... So, while it may not be the best company at the moment, it does not mean it is not an attractive stock."