BB&T’s (BBT) stock may be trailing the overall banking sector this year, but the North-Carolina-based lender continues to grow by leaps, bounds and acquisitions, said Ryan Kelley, portfolio manager for the Hennessy Large Cap Financial Fund (HLFNX). Shares of BB&T are down 6% year-to-date compared to the Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLF) which is down 4%. BB&T has been an active acquirer with three whole bank deals in past year including National Penn and Susquehanna Bancshares. The bank has posted solid growth year-over-year with assets rising 12%, loans up 14% and deposits up 13%. Kelley also said BB&T would be a beneficiary of a potential rising rate environment. 'The company is trading at an attractive valuation at only around 10.5 times next year’s earnings and its one of our largest positions in the fund,' said Kelley. Kelley is also bullish on Regions Financial (RF), which has seen its shares fall 14% year-to-date. He said recent worries about energy exposure may be over-emphasized and its attractive valuation of 10 times next year’s earnings provide a good buying opportunity. As for small-cap names in the Hennessy Small Cap Financial Fund (HSFNX)., Kelley is a fan of Florida-based BankUnited (BKU), which has seen its stock surge 27% thus far in 2015.
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