After regulation and low yields made the world of banking quite dull following the financial crisis, things are about to get more interesting.
According to a new note from analysts at Macquarie Group Ltd., it’s time to “shift exposure” in the financial sector as the outlook looks much different in the post-election world.
The team, led by David Konrad, suggests moving toward “names that have more leverage to capital markets and increased economic activity and away from global banks whose multiples may remain suppressed owing to decreased trade and currency volatility, particularly in Emerging Markets.”
As a result, the team is upgrading Goldman Sachs Group Inc., thanks to its larger exposure to investment banking and investment management. On the flip side, the team is downgrading Citigroup Inc., thanks to ongoing risks to globalization following the U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union and the surprise victory of Donald Trump in the U.S. presidential race.
Following Trump’s victory — which has raised speculation of loosening of financial regulations and more fiscal spending, both of which are seen as positives for banks — the KBW Bank Index has rallied 13 percent, while the S&P 500 is up a mere 2.5 percent. This is a massive shift from the trend earlier this year, when Goldman Sachs bet on large U.S. banks against the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, only to be forced out of that trade less than 6 weeks later.
Since November 8, Citigroup is up 12 percent, Goldman has risen 16 percent, Morgan Stanley 18 percent, JPMorgan Chase and Co. 12 percent, and Bank of America Corp. 18 percent. They are also are all in the top 10 stocks in terms of points added to the S&P 500, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
However, some analysts argue that this rally has gotten ahead of itself. “While we believe the incoming Trump administration – in tandem with the GOP-controlled Congress – are likely to push to improve the pace of U.S. economic growth, reduce some of the regulatory burden on the banks…investors appear to have greeted this possibility positively that large-cap bank valuations now appear to be at levels that are somewhat ahead of longer-term historical levels,” Analyst Matt Burnell at Wells Fargo wrote in a note published this week. “As a result, we believe a greater level of caution on the large-cap bank stocks is likely warranted for the near-term.”