It's time to hit those spreadsheets...if you are an analyst covering financial stocks during the ongoing banking crisis.
Because right now, it looks like almost every Wall Street analyst covering the space is frozen in time and afraid to pull the trigger on what should be an easy decision to become more cautious on scores of names.
Look no further than fresh data out of FactSet to get a sense of this bizarre vibe.
Among the financial stocks contained in the S&P 500, 92% are rated either a buy or hold as of March 16 (see table below). The rest are rated a sell. In blunt terms, analysts are saying to stay involved (or "constructive," as the Wall Street jargon goes) in financials despite meltdowns in Silicon Valley Bank (SIVB), First Republic (FRC) and Signature Bank (SBNY), and growing stress at Credit Suisse (CS).
Parsed another way, 48% of the stocks are rated a buy, 44% are rated a hold, and 8% are rated a sell. The percentage of buy-rated financials have only declined by four percentage points since Feb. 28 despite the rolling banking crisis.
Little too bullish on the financials?For perspective, the KBW Bank ETF (^BKX) has shed 25% in the last month, compared to a 5% drop for the S&P 500, per Yahoo Finance data.
Analysts are almost as bullish on the financials as the industrials (which aren't in crisis mode) — with the latter having 49% of its stocks in the S&P 500 rated a buy.
Going one step further, the financials are being modeled by analysts to report strong 9.4% year-over-year revenue growth in the first quarter — which will capture the effects of the current crisis as the quarter ends on March 31. If somehow hit, the revenue growth rate for the financials would be the quickest pace of growth among all S&P 500 sectors, notes FactSet.
Bottom line: Clients could be left holding the bag if analysts don't step up and change their tune on financials.
Brian Sozzi is Yahoo Finance's Executive Editor. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.
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