Magazine article American Banker

Goldman Regional Analyst Ranked Most Accurate; Wells and SunTrust Are Her Top Picks; She Also Likes U.S. Bancorp

Magazine article American Banker

Goldman Regional Analyst Ranked Most Accurate; Wells and SunTrust Are Her Top Picks; She Also Likes U.S. Bancorp

Article excerpt

For Lori Appelbaum, choosing a winning stock takes footwork in addition to an analytical eye.

Like other analysts, Ms. Appelbaum visits chief executives at their company headquarters. But she also travels to branches and tours the communities where the banks do business.

"I want to know how the bank is perceived," said Ms. Appelbaum, who also subscribes to on-line editions of local newspapers.

"The more information you have, the better you are able to dissect what's going on. It's almost better to know the answers before you ask the questions."

The legwork apparently pays off. The fast-rising member of Goldman, Sachs & Co.'s team of banking analysts was the standout in American Banker's annual Sharpshooter survey. She was the most accurate regional banking analyst over all, and her earnings projections turned out to be the most accurate among the 19 analysts in her category for Comerica Inc. and Fifth Third Bancorp.

She ranked second in predicting earnings for Firstar Corp., Hibernia Corp., Wachovia Corp., and Zions Bancorp.

Ms. Appelbaum says that being a bank stock analyst comes naturally. She has been watching the stock market since she was a child and put together her first investment portfolio as a teenager.

"My father was always an investor. We'd talk about ideas in the market," she says.

Ms. Appelbaum has been around banks for nearly as long as she's been around the stock market. As a teenager she was a teller with a unit of Bank One Corp. After attending the Wharton School for Business, Ms. Appelbaum took a job as a loan officer with Chemical Banking Corp.

She says analysis of the bank's clients appealed to her. At the urging of colleagues, in 1993 she landed a job as a regional banking analyst at Sanford Bernstein & Co. "I knew I was in my element," she said.

In 1995, Ms. Appelbaum moved to Goldman Sachs, where she continues to follow about a dozen banking companies. …

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