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Steve Leuthold Says He’s Willing to Look at Banks

Oct. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Steve Leuthold, whose Leuthold Core Investment Fund has beaten 88 percent of its rivals in the past five years, said he’s willing to consider investing in banks.

“We’re getting some of the bank groups that are rating attractive at this time, so I will take another look,” Minneapolis-based Leuthold said today in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “In the Loop with Betty Liu.” “You are looking at values, and sometimes when you are trying to be a value player, you must look beyond the short-term negative fundamentals. We do not own any now, but it is possible.”

Leuthold, who bet on stocks before the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index started the biggest rally since the Great Depression in March 2009 and has $4.1 billion under management, said that the big diversified banks all over the world, such as Citigroup Inc. and some regional institutions, are attractive.

The S&P 500 Banks Index fell 5.6 percent last week on concern that problems with foreclosure documents and proceedings could worsen the earnings outlook for the industry. The gauge rallied 1.5 percent at 9:58 a.m. in New York after earnings at Fifth Third Bancorp and Huntington Bancshares Inc. beat analysts’ estimates.

Earlier this month, Leuthold told Bloomberg News that banks are going to have continued margin pressures. “We really don’t have much in terms of financials. There hasn’t been a great deal of loan demand here and the spreads are not terribly attractive for some banks,” he said on Oct. 7.

To contact the reporters on this story: Rita Nazareth in New York at rnazareth@bloomberg.net; Betty Liu in New York.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Baker at nbaker7@bloomberg.net.

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