Thursday, December 22, 2011

Analysts predict bank fundamental improvement in 2012

A new research note from analysts at financial services firm Stifel Nicolaus say the fundamentals at U.S. banks will continue to improve in 2012,

The analysts cite Wells Fargo as a top recommendation.

Among the findings:
  • Thirty banks should raise dividends this year, by a median of 25 percent.
  • Earnings per share should rise 14 percent.
  • Profitability will improve, with return on assets increasing to 0.87 percent from 0.81 percent.
Not all the findings are rosy. The analysts also predicted net interest margins to fall eight

In what will become a much-discussed topic as 2012 wears on, Stifel predicts that Bank of America will be able to raise its dividend to 4 cents per share from the penny it has been for two years. Memorably, regulators rejected the Charlotte bank's request to increase its dividend this year.

But, the analysts note, even that increase does "little to make investors whole."