Stocks took a battering on Wall Street on Tuesday as several analysts reiterated or ratcheted up recommendations on financials they said represented good value.
In a broad selloff the Dow Jones industrial average tumbled 2.99% and the Nasdaq composite 6.18%. The American Banker index of the top 225 banks dropped 3.6%, and the index of the top 50 banks 3%. Still, Katrina Blecher, an analyst at Sandler ONeill & Partners LP, reiterated her outperform rating Tuesday for SunTrust Banks Inc. She said she retained the rating because of how badly SunTrusts stock has gotten hit in the markets downdraft.
SunTrust moved with the pack Tuesday. The stock dropped 68 cents, or 1.07%, to end the day at $63.12.
They are one of the few banks I follow where I expect to see a large pick up in the margin, said Ms. Blecher, whose coverage includes Wells Fargo & Co., Wachovia Corp., KeyCorp, First Union Corp. and Bank of New York Co.
Ms. Blecher said she expects SunTrust to keep expenses under control and its loan growth strong. The Atlanta company is not burdened by a large investment banking operation, and its large mortgage operation should work in its favor, she said.
SunTrust is a very large, very traditional bank, and this is the best time for a banking company with those characteristics, Ms. Blecher said.
Speaking Monday at a New York investment conference sponsored by Putnam Lovell Securities Inc., James M. Wells 3d, vice chairman of SunTrust, said it is enforcing a hiring freeze and plans to shed employees through attrition, not layoffs.
The company has lost about 2,000 of its more than 30,000 employees through attrition and is looking to eliminate another 1,000 jobs the same way, he said.
Richard X. Bove, an analyst at Raymond James & Associates, raised his rating on Bank of New York to strong buy from buy.
In a research note issued Tuesday, Mr. Bove wrote the boom in the fixed-income markets in the first quarter caused him to change his rating. Also, Bank of New York is the dominant player in the municipal bond market, and those bonds are about to adjust sharply higher, he wrote.
The banking companys loan portfolio is in a relatively strong position, because the company has reduced its commitments to credit-only customers and now provides the bulk of its funds to clients in the processing sector, Mr. Bove wrote.
Bank of New Yorks stock dropped 74 cents Tuesday, or 1.5%, to close at $48.60.