BlackRock (NYSE:BLK) has been one of my favorite financial sector stocks for some time now. The company has strong, stable earnings, high profitability, and has high growth expectations over the next few years. It generates all of its revenue from clients, so its revenue stream is more stable than banks and it can better adjust to crises. Shares are up over 17.5 percent in the last year, and I believe there is still time to buy into BlackRock and make a profit.
BlackRock's earnings per share had its largest recent increase from 2009 to 2010 at 57 percent after the firm's acquisition of Barclays Global Investors. Going forward, the company is expected to grow its earnings per share by 15.85 percent per year over the next five years, which is much higher than many financial institutions. BlackRock's current P/E ratio of 14.27 accounts for this expected earnings growth, but there is still plenty of room for stock price growth if BlackRock can meet its expectations.
In addition to its growth, BlackRock has been able to remain profitable. In 2008, when many financial institutions were unprofitable or went bankrupt, BlackRock had a 15.8 percent net profit margin. In 2011, the company grew its net profit margin to 26.3 percent. These high margins are expected to continue in the future, which means that investors do not have to worry as much about a macroeconomic catastrophe hurting stock price. As a plus, BlackRock did not have to decrease its dividend during the financial crisis and even raised its quarterly dividend from 78 cents to one dollar from Q4 2009 to Q1 2010.
For a financial institution, BlackRock has a sizable dividend. its current yield is 3.36 percent, which is better than any of the "Big 4" commercial banks, which yield .13 percent, .49 percent, 2.58 percent, and 3.21 percent. Since organic growth is rare in the financial sector nowadays, I believe dividend yields are a much more important factor for financial institutions than they used to be. Some European banks, like Credit Suisse (NYSE:CS), do have higher yields than BlackRock, but the higher financial stability of BlackRock more than makes up for the 97 basis point difference between dividend yields.
In conclusion, I believe that BlackRock is a good stock to buy as its profitability and growth can easily lead the company's stock price to increase by 12 to 16 percent annually. It is a good portfolio stock for dividend investors and for investors who want to have some exposure to the financial sector, but do not want to be exposed to a lot of the risk. In the next few years, expect BlackRock to retain its position as a leader in Asset Management and ETF Management and meet its high growth expectations.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.