European Banks Came Up Trumps in 2013, Look Good For 2014: Citi

Nowhere is the sea change in Europe more visible than in the performance of its banking sector.

During 2013, the four best-performing banking sectors, based on their stock performance, and tracked by Citi, came out of Europe.

This is how banking sectors stacked up globally (the ten best and worst) based on USD:

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However, Japan and Argentina topped the charts when measured in local currency.

The bottom of the heap in 2013

Currency turmoil and political upheavals dogged the performance of banks in India, Thailand and Turkey which came in as the worst-performing sectors, whether measured in USD or local currency.

European banks region-wise performance – last twelve months

Measured in local currencies the top and bottom performing regions over the last twelve months were as follows:


Market-wise performance – last twelve months

Measured in local currencies the top and bottom performing markets over the last twelve months were as follows:


Global banks in 2014

“For 2014, we remain overweight European banks, with the sector at an inflection point on capital, restructuring and the real economy, while the transition to ECB supervision should serve to reduce the sector risk premium,” say Citi analysts.

US banking valuations “look fuller,” but down the line, rising interest rates and cyclical factors will have a salutary effect.

Asia, however, is bogged down by macro factors, regulatory and policy tightening and rising bond yields. However, Citi is overweight on Hong Kong and China and bullish on Japan.

Individual banking picks in 2014

Citi favours Barclays PLC (ADR) (NYSE:BCS) (LON:BARC), BNP Paribas SA (ADR)(OTCMKTS:BNPQY), Danske Bank A/S (ADR)(OTCMKTS:DNSKY) and ING Groep NV (ADR) (NYSE:ING) in Europe; BB&T Corporation (NYSE:BBT) amongst US regional banks; JPMorgan Chase & Co.(NYSE:JPM) and Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) within the US large cap banks; and CCB, HSB, MUFG and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Grp, Inc. (ADR)(NYSE:SMFG) in Asian banking.