Bill Miller, the star manager who runs the Legg Mason Value Trust, is staking his future on financial shares.
Stocks in this sector sent his performance plunging below that of 99 percent of his competitors during the past three years.
This drought came after he beat the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index for a record 15 straight years.
And now he’s back, with a return of 9.1 percent so far this year, besting 90 percent of his competitors.
And Miller says financial stocks represent his favorite investment for the rest of the decade.
“Banks, in fact, are flush with cash, have deposits flowing in, and have $800 billion of excess reserves on deposit at the Fed,” he writes in his quarterly note to investors.
“Most of the big banks that have reported results recently are profitable (Wells Fargo had
record profits), and most improved their capital ratios.”
To those who pooh-pooh the profits, such as superstar bank analyst Meredith Whitney, Miller says, “Not surprisingly, the same analysts who expected the banks to report losses in the first quarter dismiss the earnings as due to nonrecurring items, unusual market conditions (very wide spreads) and accounting gains.”
But “when those same conditions led to large losses being reported last year, those losses were considered all too real,” he points out.
Miller may be vindicated.
“It could be Bill is right and the vast majority of banks will earn their way out of this,” PNC investment strategist William Stone tells Bloomberg.
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