Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS) is a bank that doesn’t get much attention from our Foolish readership, and I have yet to figure out why. I bought my first shares in the Wall Street titan last November, and since then, I’ve seen returns of 28%.
I hope to change that attitude at least a bit today, starting with you, Foolish reader. Here, then, are at least three reasons you should consider getting into Goldman Sachs as soon as possible.
1. A solid return on equity
Return on equity, or ROE, is a classic metric used to evaluate banks. It measures profitability from an investor’s perspective: examining how much profit a company generates with the money shareholders have invested.
Before the financial crash, ROEs in the 20%-plus range were common, but in these days of increased regulation and a still-recovering economy, an ROE anywhere north of 10% can be considered solid. With an ROE trailing 12 months of 10.18%, Goldman hits the mark we’re looking for, and comes in just shy of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM)‘s equally solid ROE of 10.98%.
This is in stark contrast to investor darling Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) , which is only managing an ROE of 1.79% TTM. Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C), another bank that gets far more Foolish attention than Goldman, is only bringing an ROE of 4.27% to the investing table.
2. An attractive price-to-book ratio
Price-to-book ratio, or P/B, compares a stock’s market value to its book value and is another popular method for evaluating a bank stock.
Technically, P/B is calculated by taking the market capitalization and dividing it by total assets minus total liabilities, but all you really need to know is that a P/B right around 1.0 is desirable (below 1.0 is even better), the idea being that around 1.0, the stock is undervalued and you’re getting a deal.
B of A’s P/B is currently 0.60. That’s very low. For me, suspiciously low. A P/B that low might be a sign the bank is a bargain, or it might be a sign the bank is so fundamentally flawed that investors don’t even value the bank at the book value of its assets (essentially what the bank could literally be sold for if it went bankrupt tomorrow).
For the most recent quarter, Goldman’s P/B is 1.13. For me, that’s right in the pocket, and it says that while investors may undervalue the bank a bit right now, nobody’s frightened enough to think it can’t be sold off tomorrow for at least some profit. Citi’s P/B is 0.72 right now, another suspiciously low number to me.
3. Great leadership and great vision
I might be cheating by working leadership and vision into the third reason you should buy Goldman right now, but here goes anyway.
Goldman’s CEO, Lloyd Blankfein, has his act together like few other CEOs in the financial sector. He’s one of the sharpest knives in the banking block. In my opinion, he’s as on top of his game as JPMorgan’s CEO, Jamie Dimon. That’s about as high a recommendation as I can give.