12 Bank Stocks That Wall Street Loves the Most

Bank earnings season kicked off Friday, April 12, with first-quarter reports from JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC).

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Bank earnings season kicked off Friday, April 12, with first-quarter reports from JPMorgan Chase (JPM (opens in new tab)) and Wells Fargo (WFC (opens in new tab)). As more reports roll in, investors will be keen to see what a pause in interest-rate hikes and a potential slowdown in economic growth could mean for the sector going forward.

After all, those and other concerns have made financial stocks a market laggard so far this year. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index is up a hot 15% for the year through April 10. The financial sector, however, gained just 11% over the same span. The bank subsector was up a bit more than 12%.

But the financial sector might be ready to pivot. Analysts surveyed by Refinitiv expect the sector to post year-over-year Q1 earnings growth of just 2.9%. That doesn’t sound like much, but it’s encouraging when you consider that FactSet estimates the S&P 500’s profits will contract by 4.2% for the quarter.

Which bank stocks are analysts most excited about right now? We screened the Russell 1000 Index for the top-rated small, midsize and large bank stocks. S&P Global Market Intelligence surveys analysts’ ratings on stocks and scores them on a five-point scale, where 1.0 equals “Strong Buy” and 5.0 means “Strong Sell.” Any score of 2.0 or lower means that analysts, on average, rate the stock a “Buy.” The closer the score gets to 1.0, the better.

Here are the 12 best-rated bank stocks as earnings season gets into gear. This group is broken down into the four most-loved stock picks in the small-, mid- and large-cap spaces.

Data is as of April 10, 2019. Companies are listed by strength of analysts’ buy recommendations, from lowest to highest. Dividend yields are calculated by annualizing the most recent quarterly payout and dividing by the share price. Analysts’ ratings are provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence. Expected earnings dates are provided by Briefing.com.

Dan Burrows
Senior Investing Writer, Kiplinger.com

Dan Burrows is Kiplinger's senior investing writer, having joined the august publication full time in 2016.

A long-time financial journalist, Dan is a veteran of SmartMoney, MarketWatch, CBS MoneyWatch, InvestorPlace and DailyFinance. He has written for The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Consumer Reports, Senior Executive and Boston magazine, and his stories have appeared in the New York Daily News, the San Jose Mercury News and Investor's Business Daily, among other publications. As a senior writer at AOL's DailyFinance, Dan reported market news from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and hosted a weekly video segment on equities.

Once upon a time – before his days as a financial reporter and assistant financial editor at legendary fashion trade paper Women's Wear Daily – Dan worked for Spy magazine, scribbled away at Time Inc. and contributed to Maxim magazine back when lad mags were a thing. He's also written for Esquire magazine's Dubious Achievements Awards.

In his current role at Kiplinger, Dan writes about equities, fixed income, currencies, commodities, funds, macroeconomics, demographics, real estate and more.

Dan holds a bachelor's degree from Oberlin College and a master's degree from Columbia University.

Disclosure: Dan does not trade stocks or other securities. Rather, he dollar-cost averages into cheap funds and index funds and holds them forever in tax-advantaged accounts.