On Mar 18, 2013, we reaffirmed our long-term recommendation on
) at Neutral. This reflects the company's fourth-quarter results,
which significantly outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate.
BRIDGE CAP HLDG (BBNK): Free Stock Analysis
COLUMBIA BK SYS (COLB): Free Stock Analysis
WESTERN ALLIANC (WAL): Free Stock Analysis
ZIONS BANCORP (ZION): Free Stock Analysis
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Zions' fourth-quarter earnings stood at 44 cents per share, 10%
higher than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 40 cents. After
considering certain non-recurring items, the company's
fourth-quarter earnings were down nearly 44% from the prior
On a sequential basis, results were adversely impacted by lower
revenues and a rise in operating expenses. Yet, continuously
improving credit quality, stable capital and profitable ratios as
well as growth in deposits and loans were among the tailwinds.
Following fourth-quarter results, the Zacks Consensus Estimate
for 2013 fell by a penny to $1.69 per share over the last 60
days. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2014 also declined (down
2.1% to $1.90 per share). Hence, Zions currently has a Zacks Rank
In mid-Mar 2013, Zions' capital plan was partly approved by the
Federal Reserve. Though the company did not ask for any
additional capital deployment, its strategy to strengthen balance
sheet through redemption of trust preferred securities and
long-term debt will definitely prove beneficial to the results
Nevertheless, continuous deposit pricing pressures, sluggish loan
demand and low rate environment along with a growth in
higher-cost funding accounts are expected to weigh on Zions' net
interest margin (NIM), creating headwinds on the revenue front.
Further, low-yield investments will likely negatively impact the
Other Stocks Worth Considering
While we prefer Zions, other west-bank stocks that are worth a
Columbia Banking System Inc.
Western Alliance Bancorporation
Bridge Capital Holdings
). The first two stocks carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), while
Bridge Capital has a Zacks Rank # 2 (Buy).