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JPMorgan, BlackRock, Goldman, and More: Examining the Underlying Components of XLF


Here, a look at how much more room the financial sector has to run, and the buying opportunities in the sector.

The financials sector has had a nice 12-month run. You might remember that the sector was volatile at the end of summer 2012 thanks to the debt crisis in Europe. The sector has recovered nicely since then with a one year return in the Financial Select Sector SPDR (ETF ) (NYSEARCA:XLF) of 40%. Not too shabby.

Of course, the financials had a lot of room to run. It was the most beat-down sector in the 2008-09 credit crisis. In fact, it is still the most beaten down sector by far when valuations are compared to he highs in late 2007.

So, the question is: How much more room does it have to run, and are there any buying opportunities in that sector? To answer these questions, we examine the underlying components of the sector ETF. In looking at the components of the XLF, the top 20 holdings make up 66% of the value of the overall fund. These are the large and super-large caps in the fund.

When you look closely at the price of these top 20 firms, you notice that most of them are not too close to their 52-week high – at least when you consider the entire high-low range for the 52 weeks. I like to split the 52-week high-low into the four quadrants – low, mid-low, mid-high, and high. Of the 20 companies, 15 of them fall in to the high quadrant – meaning they are nearing the 52-week high.

Of these 15 in this top quadrant, they are still on average 15% below their 52-week high, so they have a little bit of room to run. They are starting to feel a little bit top-heavy, but another 15% up move would still feel great!

On the positive side, of the top 20 firms, Morningstar has a four-star rating on 13 out of the 20. Six other stocks have a three-star rating and the last one is under review. So, on average, Morningstar has a positive view on the potential of many of these firms.

I think Morningstar has a very objective approach to valuation, and its non-conflicted status gives the M-star rating more credibility than that of Wall Street.

Of the four-star firms in the top 20, several stand out: Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC), Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.B), JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), Citigroup (NYSE:C), Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), Bank of New York Mellon (NYSE:BK) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS). Of these firms, the ones trading at the largest discount to their 52-week high are: Morgan Stanley, Bank of New York Mellon, Citigroup, JPMorgan, and Goldman.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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