These Three Strong Financial Stocks Look Ready To Surge Higher

KEY

TAKEAWAYS

  • XLF on strong RRG-Heading, rotating back into leading quadrant
  • XLF price approaching overhead resistance after short setback
  • Three major financial stocks ready for upward breaks to lead the sector higher

The Relative Rotation Graph for US sectors shows long tails for XLE and XLU. Both are on a strong RRG-Heading toward or into the leading quadrant. Also inside the leading quadrant are XLB and XLI, though they have rolled over and are starting to lose a bit of relative momentum.

Sectors on negative RRG-Heading and inside the lagging quadrant are XLRE, XLY, XLV, and XLK, with the S&P 500 moving higher in the last three weeks.

For this article, I want to focus on the Financials sector (XLF). The tail for XLF just completed a short rotation through the weakening quadrant and is now returning into the leading quadrant.

The Weekly Chart

The chart above, in combination with the RS-Line and the RRG-Lines, shows what is happening presently. At the dashed vertical line, both RRG-Lines had crossed above the 100-level, pushing the XLF tail into the leading quadrant on the RRG. At the start of 2024, the green JdK RS-Momentum line started to roll over and lose some strength, causing the XLF tail to roll over while still inside the leading quadrant. At the start of the red-shaded box, the RS-Momentum line dips below 100. This has pushed the XLF tail into the weakening quadrant. Note that the red JdK RS-Ratio line remains above 100. At the end of the shaded box, the RS-Momentum line crosses back above the 100-level, which pushes the tail back into the leading quadrant.

When you study the raw RS-Line, you see that it is moving inside a narrow uptrend channel. The period covered by the shaded area reflects a flat period of relative strength inside that channel, after which the rhythm of higher highs and higher lows continues. This rotation on the RRG reflects the continuation of an existing relative uptrend, making it much less risky than the turnaround from a downtrend to an uptrend, which happened at the dashed vertical line.

The Daily Chart

The recent dip to 39.50 and the subsequent rally show up in more detail on the daily chart. This week, XLF takes out its most recent high, starting a new series of higher highs and higher lows. The next resistance level is at the all-time high of 42.20 at the end of March. The setback off of that all-time high has caused relative strength to correct slightly, causing the (daily) RRG-Lines to dip below 100 and push the XLF tail into lagging on the daily RRG.

With the price chart already back on the way up, relative strength is expected to follow shortly. As soon as the daily tail starts to turn back into a 0-90 degree RRG-Heading, relative strength for XLF is expected to improve further, making it one of the leading sectors in the S&P 500.

Individual Stocks

The RRG for individual stocks inside the financials sector shows an evenly-distributed universe around the (XLF) benchmark. Going over the tails for the individual stocks, I found a few names that are definitely worth a closer look.

This RRG shows the tails at a strong heading, narrowing the search for good stocks. While checking out the individual charts, I found several promising names. The three that I want to mention here are not only at strong rotational trajectories, but also (close to) breaking out, AND they are some major names in the sector.

Morgan Stanley

MS is breaking a double resistance level this week, as the horizontal barrier over the most recent peaks and the falling resistance line coming off the 2021 peaks coincided. This unlocks fresh upward potential for MS, with intermediate resistance waiting around 100 before nearing the area around the all-time high at 105.

Subsequently breaking these barriers will push this stock further into the leading quadrant, making it one of the leaders in the sector.

Citigroup

Citigroup is still trading below its previous high. However, given the recently-formed higher low and the strong rally out of it, an upward break is likely. Such a break is supported by the recent relative rotation back into leading from weakening.

Just like MS, C is also one of the bigger names in the financials sector. Strength in big names is usually what drives a sector up.

Bank of America

BAC is also close to breaking overhead resistance, after which there is plenty of upside. Relative strength is coming out of a long downtrend that started early in 2022, making this a major reversal. Taking out the barrier at 38 opens the way for a further move toward 50, which is substantial. But unlike you may think, that area is NOT the all-time high for BAC… that was set around 55 in October 2006.

Like MS and C, BAC is also one of the more important stocks in the Financials sector. Another important name in the sector is GS, which I did not include as it is already well underway after breaking higher.

When such important names in a sector are all starting to break higher, it is good news for that sector.

#StayAlert, –Julius

Julius de Kempenaer
Senior Technical Analyst, StockCharts.com
CreatorRelative Rotation Graphs
FounderRRG Research
Host ofSector Spotlight

Please find my handles for social media channels under the Bio below.

Feedback, comments or questions are welcome at [email protected]. I cannot promise to respond to each and every message, but I will certainly read them and, where reasonably possible, use the feedback and comments or answer questions.

To discuss RRG with me on S.C.A.N., tag me using the handle Julius_RRG.

RRG, Relative Rotation Graphs, JdK RS-Ratio, and JdK RS-Momentum are registered trademarks of RRG Research.

Julius de Kempenaer

About the author:
Julius de Kempenaer is the creator of Relative Rotation Graphs™. This unique method to visualize relative strength within a universe of securities was first launched on Bloomberg professional services terminals in January of 2011 and was released on StockCharts.com in July of 2014.

After graduating from the Dutch Royal Military Academy, Julius served in the Dutch Air Force in multiple officer ranks. He retired from the military as a captain in 1990 to enter the financial industry as a portfolio manager for Equity & Law (now part of AXA Investment Managers).
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#Strong #Financial #Stocks #Ready #Surge #Higher

Bank of America execs blew $93.6 billion. Here’s how they did it.

In several notes to clients this month, Odeon Capital Group analyst Dick Bove has pointed out that Bank of America’s big spending on stock buybacks over the past five years has been a waste for its shareholders, with the bank’s stock price declining slightly during that period.

The idea behind repurchasing shares on the open market is that they reduce a company’s share count and therefore boost earnings per share and support higher share prices over time. This doesn’t seem to be a bad idea, especially for a company such as Apple Inc.
AAPL,
+1.01%
,
which has generated excess capital and has appeared to be firing on all cylinders for a long time. For a company that is continuing to expand its product and service offerings while maintaining high profitability, buybacks can be a blessing to shareholders.

But for banks, for which capital is the main ingredient of earnings power, a more careful approach might be in order. The data below show how buybacks haven’t helped the largest banks outperform the broad stock market over the past five years. And now, banks face the prospect of regulators raising their capital requirements by 20%, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Before showing data for the 20 companies among the S&P 500 that have spent the most money on buybacks over the past five years, let’s take a look at how share repurchases are described in a misleading way by corporate executives — and by many analysts, for that matter. During Bank of America’s
BAC,
-0.79%

first-quarter earnings call on April 18, Chief Financial Officer Alastair Borthwick said the bank had “returned $12 billion in capital to shareholders” over the previous 12 months, according to a transcript provided by FactSet.

Borthwick was referring to buybacks and dividends combined. Neither item was a return of capital. In fact, Bove summed up the buybacks elegantly in a client note on June 9: “The money that the company uses to buy back the stock is simply given away to people who do not want to own the bank’s stock.”

It is also worth pointing out that the term “return of capital” actually means the return of investors’ own capital to them, which is commonly done by closed-end mutual funds, business-development companies and some real-estate investment trusts, for various reasons. Those distributions aren’t taxed and they lower an investor’s cost basis.

Dividends aren’t a return of capital, either, if they are sourced from a company’s earnings, as they have been for Bank of America.

One more thing for investors to think about is that large companies typically award newly issued shares to executives as part of their compensation. This dilutes the ownership stakes of nonexecutive shareholders. So some of the buybacks merely mitigate this dilution. An investor hopes to see the buybacks lower the share count, but there are some instances in which the count still increases.

How buybacks can hurt banks

Banks’ management teams and boards of directors have engaged in buybacks because they wish to boost earnings per share and returns on equity by shedding excess capital. But Bove made another industry-specific point in his June 9 note: “If the bank buys back stock it must sell assets that offer a return to do so; it lowers current earnings.” Buybacks can also hurt future earnings. Less capital can slow expansion, loan growth and profits.

According to Bove, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan, who took the top slot in 2010 and saw the bank through the difficult aftermath of its acquisition of Countrywide and Merrill Lynch in 2008, “is one of the brightest, most capable executives for operating a banking enterprise.”

But he questions Moynihan’s ability to manage the bank’s balance sheet. Bove expects that Bank of America will need to issue new common shares, in part because rising interest rates have reduced the value of its bond investments.

In a June 5 note, Bove wrote: “Mr. Moynihan indicated twice [during a recent presentation] that the bank has excess cash that apparently could not be invested profitably. Possibly he is unaware that the cost of deposits at the bank in [the first quarter of] 2023 was 1.38% while the yield in the Fed Funds market can be as high as 5.25%.” In other words, the bank could earn a high spread at little risk with overnight deposits with the Federal Reserve.

That is a very simple example, but if Bank of America had grown its loan book more quickly over recent years while focusing less on buybacks, it might not face the prospect of a near-term capital raise, which would dilute current shareholders’ stakes in the company and reduce earnings per share.

Top 20 companies by dollars spent on buybacks

To look beyond banking, we sorted companies in the S&P 500
SPX,
+0.51%

by total dollars spent on buybacks over the past five years (the past 40 reported fiscal quarters) through June 9, using data suppled by FactSet. It turns out 11 have seen prices increase more quickly than the index. With reinvested dividends, 12 have outperformed the index.

Company

Ticker

Dollars spent on buybacks over the past 5 years ($Bil)

5-year price change

5-year total return with dividends reinvested

Apple Inc.

AAPL,
+1.01%
$393.6

279%

297%

Alphabet Inc. Class A

GOOGL,
+0.84%
$180.6

116%

116%

Microsoft Corporation

MSFT,
+0.87%
$121.5

221%

239%

Meta Platforms Inc.

META,
+1.58%
$103.4

42%

42%

Oracle Corp.

ORCL,
+6.11%
$102.6

140%

161%

Bank of America Corp.

BAC,
-0.79%
$93.6

-2%

10%

JPMorgan Chase & Co.

JPM,
-0.18%
$87.3

27%

47%

Wells Fargo & Co.

WFC,
-1.01%
$84.0

-24%

-13%

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Class B

BRK.B,
-0.80%
$70.3

70%

70%

Citigroup Inc.

C,
+0.09%
$51.4

-29%

-16%

Charter Communications Inc. Class A

CHTR,
+1.09%
$48.5

20%

20%

Cisco Systems Inc.

CSCO,
+1.00%
$46.5

15%

34%

Visa Inc. Class A

V,
+0.75%
$45.6

66%

72%

Procter & Gamble Co.

PG,
-1.26%
$42.1

89%

116%

Home Depot Inc.

HD,
+1.01%
$41.0

51%

71%

Lowe’s Cos. Inc.

LOW,
+1.92%
$40.8

111%

131%

Intel Corp.

INTC,
+4.67%
$39.0

-40%

-31%

Morgan Stanley

MS,
+1.04%
$36.7

67%

93%

Walmart Inc.

WMT,
+0.33%
$35.6

82%

99%

Qualcomm Inc.

QCOM,
+2.12%
$35.1

101%

130%

S&P 500

SPX,
+0.51%
55%

69%

Source: FactSet

Click on the tickers for more about each company or index.

Click here for Tomi Kilgore’s detailed guide to the wealth of information available for free on the MarketWatch quote page.

The four listed companies with negative five-year returns are three banks — Citigroup Inc.
C,
+0.09%
,
Wells Fargo & Co.
WFC,
-1.01%

and Bank of America — and Intel Inc.
INTC,
+4.67%
.

Don’t miss: As tech companies take over the market again, don’t forget these bargain dividend stocks

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