Bulls Should Watch Goldman Sachs Ahead of Busy Month for Bank Stocks

Goldman Sachs stock is pacing for its highest close since mid-March

Oct 5, 2017 at 12:47 PM
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Bank stocks will be in focus next week, with quarterly results from several high-profile financial names marking the start of third-quarter earnings season. The release of the September Fed minutes could also draw interest to the sector, as traders look for clues to a possible December rate hike. Ahead of these closely watched events, financials are one of the leading sectors we track, with Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS) a particularly intriguing name. And with options attractively priced, it could be time to take a short-term bullish stance on the Dow stock.

Taking a quick step back, 94% of the 18 stocks we follow under our "Wall Street" umbrella are trading north of their 80-day moving average -- the highest of any group on our internal sector scorecard. What's more, these stocks boast a collective year-over-year gain of 30.5%, even thought just half of covering analysts maintain a "buy" rating, down from 53% one year ago. A round of bullish brokerage notes could create tailwinds for the sector.

One name that could certainly benefit from upgrades is Goldman Sachs. Even though the shares are up 13.7% since finding a familiar floor in the $216-$217 region last month -- a roughly 50% Fibonacci retracement from the bank stock's post-election surge -- nine out of 17 analysts maintain a "hold" or "strong sell" rating.

Price-target hikes are also a possibility, considering the average 12-month price target of $239.76 stands at a discount the current trading levels. Today, in fact, the shares are up 1.8% at $244.60 -- the best Dow stock so far -- after J.P. Morgan Securities raised its price target to $263 from $260, saying Goldman is likely to benefit from an expected rise in stock market volatility.

Not to mention, GS is one of the best stocks to own in October on the S&P 500 Index (SPX) -- along with fellow Dow component Microsoft. According to data from Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White, Goldman stock has averaged a monthly gain of 3.75% in the last 10 years, finishing positive 80% of the time.

Even with Goldman Sachs earnings due the morning of Tuesday, Oct. 17, low volatility expectations are currently being priced into the stock's near-term options -- a potential boon to premium buyers. Specifically, the equity's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 22% ranks lower than 86% of all comparable readings taken in the past year.

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