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Fund manager says this stock is so cheap it makes ‘no sense’

Trying to buy the dip in a beaten down market might feel similar to stepping into a clearance sale at your favorite store — everything’s on sale and screams “buy.” But with no guarantee that the recent uptick in markets is anything more than temporary, investors are stressing the importance of being selective if adding to one’s portfolio. With this in mind, one stock stands out for Charles Lieberman, co-founder and chief investment officer at Advisors Capital Management. “I think that the U.S. stock market has a lot of screaming buys … Most of the banks strike me as extremely cheap, especially the large banks,” Liberman told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” on Friday. The KBW Bank Index — which tracks the performance of major banks and thrift institutions — is down around 20% this year, as investors weigh the growing risk of a recession with potential gains in margins from higher borrowing costs. The Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate by three-quarters of a percentage point this month and signaled that a similar hike could be on the cards in July. Some market watchers believe this could mark the start of an aggressive rate hike cycle reminiscent of 1994 . Rising rates are a double-edged sword for banks. Although they typically benefit lenders, the sector has come under pressure amid fears that a miscalculation by the Fed could tip the economy into a recession. Within the banking space, Liberman believes JPMorgan is the “probably the most expensive.” He attributes this to the leadership of CEO Jamie Dimon and believes the bank “deserves” the premium. “The rest of the money center banks are all very cheap. Some of them are ridiculously so. Citigroup is trading at about 50% of book value. That makes no sense,” Liberman said. Book value is a company’s total assets minus its liabilities. “There are some real screaming buys in the U.S. bank sector, and there are a lot of other sectors that have excellent values as well,” he added. Read more These bank stocks did well during the 1994 Fed rate hikes — and could be about to do so again These global stocks look oversold — and analysts are expecting a rebound With recession fears surging, UBS dips into the history books to predict what could happen ‘Impossible’ that the U.S. economy is weak Despite growing recession fears, Liberman continues to see “considerable momentum” behind the U.S. economy. That’s despite declining consumer sentiment in the U.S. The University of Michigan’s Survey of Consumers — a widely followed consumer sentiment survey — released Friday showed overall consumer sentiment fell to a record low . “I think much more important than that is the behavior of the job market. We have been averaging over 400,000 jobs per month in the U.S. And as long as that’s the case, it is impossible to say that the U.S. economy is weak,” Liberman said. He noted that 400,000 jobs also generate “a lot of income” for consumers — income that they are willing to spend. “Consumers spend income, they don’t spend confidence, and there’s a lot of stuff going on between Ukraine and domestic politics that makes the consumer very unhappy. But they still want to spend, they still want to go away on vacation. They’re still coming out of hibernation of the pandemic, and they are going out and trying to spend,” Liberman added.

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