Dec 17 Independent research analyst Meredith
Whitney told clients on Monday that she has turned positive on
financial stocks, upgrading Citigroup Inc, Bank of America
Corp and Discover Financial Services to "buy" from
Whitney, who rose to prominence in 2007 by predicting that
Citigroup Inc would run into problems with mortgage
holdings ahead of her Wall Street peers, has been pessimistic on
the financial sector for some time. Over the summer she
predicted widespread layoffs and profit challenges for large
On Monday, she changed her stance, posting on her web site
the title of a research report that said, "Shifting to a
Positive Stance on Financials: Upgrading BAC, C, DFS."
Whitney cited several factors that will lead bank stocks to
rise in the near term, particularly the results of the Federal
Reserve's stress test in January, CNBC reported. Bank of
America, for instance, will be able to quadruple its dividend
after passing that test, Whitney said, according to CNBC.
A representative of her firm, Meredith Whitney Advisory
Group, confirmed the CNBC report, but declined to provide a copy
of Whitney's research report.
Bank of America shares are up 98 percent year-to-date, amid
a broad rally in financial stocks. Citigroup is up 49 percent
and Discover is up 67 percent so far in 2012.