My Favorite Bank Stock to Buy Today

The prospect of owning value stocks is a great idea, in theory. You buy undervalued stocks and you wait for other investors to catch on to the value, so that they can also buy shares, thus driving the prices up.

It’s the waiting, though, that can be your undoing! The big question—the “$64,000 question”, which became a common query in the 1950s—is this: “How can I find value stocks that are ready to rise today?”

You’re in luck!

There’s actually a relatively easy approach to that winning investing strategy—and one that led me to my favorite bank stock to buy today. (More on that later.)

Instead of looking for undervalued stocks, you look for undervalued sectors. Then after you identify the undervalued sector, you simply choose an attractive growth stock from among the many fine companies.

That’s not actually a difficult chore. If you’re a numbers person who enjoys stock research, you’ve known for several years that energy stocks and financial stocks have been undervalued because those sectors are rife with attractive earnings growth and low price/earnings ratios (P/Es). But even if you don’t study corporate balance sheets, all of the prominent financial news media have been talking about these two sectors for many months. That’s a good source for generalized stock-investing information.

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However, if you were a tad more astute, you could have simply subscribed to Cabot Undervalued Stocks Advisor, where I recommended energy and financial stocks many months in advance of the news media catching on to the trend. I’ve already cashed in on Ameriprise Financial (AMP, 19.8% total return in 3.5 months), Andeavor (ANDV, 35.5% total return in 11.3 months) and Goldman Sachs (GS, 55.8% total return in 16.3 months). But investors are still profiting from many energy and financial stocks in my current portfolios. Here’s my favorite bank stock to buy today …

Best Bank Stock to Buy Today

This chart shows why BAC is my favorite bank stock to buy today.Bank of America (BAC – yield 1.8%) is an undervalued large-cap growth stock. New appointments at the Federal Reserve (including new Chairman Jerome Powell) and the Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC) solidify the likelihood of banking deregulation in the coming years, which directly benefits bank profitability. While “deregulation” sounds suspiciously like “removing rules that control banks,” in today’s context, it mostly means “removing layers upon layers of duplicate government reporting that costs banks a fortune.”

The less money a bank spends on attorneys and staff to fill out duplicate government reports and their associated duplicate fees, the more money they get to keep for pro-business activities such as new hires and new services. Those pro-business activities in turn generate higher profits, and increased U.S. government income tax revenue from both corporations and new employees. See how beautifully that works?

Goldman Sachs (GS) is expected to be the biggest beneficiary of deregulation among large-cap stocks, with an ensuing 10% earnings per share (EPS) boost, according to a 116-page November report from a well-known investment bank. Therefore, I think it’s fair to conservatively estimate a 5% EPS boost from deregulation to Bank of America’s bottom line.

Bank of America also stands to receive another 10% earnings boost if corporate income tax rates are lowered to 20%, despite the potential removal of home mortgage interest deductibility. (I got that 10% figure from the aforementioned investment bank’s industry analysis.)

Let me help make those concepts real in dollars and cents. Bank of America is expected to earn $1.83 and $2.17 per share in 2017 and 2018. Those consensus estimates have risen by only three cents and two cents, respectively, since early October, which means analysts have not yet factored in the favorable appointment at the Fed nor potential changes in income tax structure.

Now let’s add a 5% EPS boost from deregulation and a 10% EPS boost from lower income tax rates to Bank of America’s consensus earnings estimates. In that scenario, Bank of America’s expected $2.17 EPS in 2018 increases to $2.50. Whereas the bank is currently expected to see EPS grow 18.6% in 2018—an outstanding year of profit growth—a revised EPS number of $2.50 would represent 36.6% year-over-year profit growth. Raise your hand if you doubt that 36% profit growth will affect the share price! It would be silly to think that a huge increase in profits won’t push the share price upward.

Need more ammo to fuel your investment decision? The current 2018 price/earnings ratio (P/E) for BAC is 12.3. Not exactly astronomical. You know what it drops to if the consensus EPS estimate is revised to $2.50? The 2018 P/E would then be 10.7. I smell a bargain!

If you’re not a numbers person, and your eyes just glazed over, what I’m telling you is that BAC is likely to bring you more capital gains than most large-cap bank stocks in the coming year. You have not missed your chance to buy BAC at a good price and benefit from deregulation and lower income tax rates.

There’s a nice dividend yield on the stock, too. Like many large-cap banks, Bank of America typically raises its dividend annually in July, right after the Federal Reserve reports which banks pass its annual stress test. The company increased its quarterly dividend by 50% in 2016, from $0.05 to $0.075 per share. It then increased the quarterly dividend by 60% in 2017, to $0.12 per share.

Buy BAC Stock Now

If Bank of America raises its dividend by 50% in July 2018, that will put the quarterly dividend at $0.18 per share, resulting in a yield of about 2.7% for investors who are lucky enough to own the stock at the current price.

BAC is an excellent choice for any value stock or growth stock portfolio. It’s my favorite bank stock to buy today. Buy BAC now in order to capitalize on its continued successes. Strong Buy.

Crista Huff

Buy Low, Sell High

Crista Huff is the lead analyst of Cabot Undervalued Stocks Advisor. Her goal is to assist you in outperforming the major U.S. stock market indexes while minimizing risk, by screening many hundreds of stocks for growth, value and bullish technical charts.

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