Nygren High on Bank Stocks

While bank stocks have been hit with a lot of tough news recently, top fund manager Bill Nygren of Oakmark has been loading up on them.

Nygren says that some bank share prices are “assuming that the worst recession since the Great Depression will happen every five years or so,” Fortune reports. As an example of a bank stock that could take off, Nygren says J.P. Morgan’s annual profits could jump 50% by 2014 thanks to rising interest rates and bad mortgages finally being worked off. And, Fortune’s Russell Pearlman notes, even if it doesn’t double profits, Morgan’s stock trades for just nine times trailing 12-month earnings; if it meets expectations next year and its P/E multiple returns to its five-year average of 15, the stock price would still double.

Nygren has 23% of his Oakmark fund portfolio in financials, according to Morningstar — nearly double the average for his benchmark (through the end of the second quarter). Other sectors he’s big on include consumer cyclicals (23%), technology (19%) and industrials (12%). Over the past five years, the fund is in the top 3% of all funds in its class, according to Morningstar. Over the past 15 years, it’s in the top 18%.