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Analysts: Financial Stocks Good Contrarian Picks

By Julie Crawshaw   |   Friday, 07 Aug 2009 01:26 PM

Though financials are not frontrunners, analysts at JPM Equity say they are among the best contrarian buys now.

“We have assembled a list of contrarian financial stocks,” the analysts write in Barron’s.

“These are stocks that JPM Equity analysts have overweight ratings on but that are less liked by the street.”

The nine recommended financial stocks are Citigroup, City National, Priatebancorp, Cullen/Frost Bankers, Hartford Financial Series Group, FirstMerit, Comerica, Investment Technology Group, and Wells Fargo.

The analysts believe investors haven’t fully appreciated the significance that S&P 500 revenue rose 4 percent sequentially, with 70 percent of companies reporting higher revenue second quarter versus first quarter.

“With improving economic visibility, equity markets remain attractive and our year-end 2009 target for the S&P 500 is 1,100, or about 11 percent upside from current levels,” they say.

U.S. stocks are at their highest levels since last November, boosted by strong bank profits and hopes of rising demand for raw materials.

Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist at Robert W. Baird, called the rally "one of the most broad-based in history," which he said suggests a healthy bull market.

"We think the market's headed higher over the near term," Bittles told The Wall Street Journal.

Bittles noted that while the economy hasn't shown that many signs of improvement yet, "we think it's going to, and that's the carrot."

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