Riding on a steady growth momentum, shares of
Bank of the Ozarks Inc.
) reached its 52-week high of $68.26 on Mar 13. This regional
bank has witnessed a jump of about 19% since the beginning of
Moreover, the encouraging momentum of this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy)
stock is fuelled by strategic initiatives and improved inorganic
growth coupled with a sturdy liquidity and competitive position.
Yesterday's closing price represents a robust one-year return of
about 61.9%, against 31.3% clocked by the Nasdaq index. Average
volume of shares traded over the last three months stands at
On Jan 16, Bank of the Ozarks reported fourth-quarter 2014
operating earnings per share of 66 cents, topping the Zacks
Consensus Estimate of 64 cents and the year-ago number of 59
cents. With this, the company delivered a positive earnings
surprise of 3.1% during the quarter.
Results reflected higher interest income and book value per
share. These were partially offset by lower non-interest income
as well as higher loan loss provisions and non-interest
Moreover, Bank of the Ozarks boasts ofstellar asset quality
along with excellent loan and lease growth. The acquisition of
The First National Bank of Shelby in Jul 2013 is also showing
results. Going ahead, the buyout of Texas-based Bancshares Inc.
earlier this month and the pending acquisition of Arkansas-based
Summit Bancorp Inc. are expected to be accretive to book value
and earnings within the first year of their purchases, boosting
operating and competitive efficiencies at the company.
Alongside, disciplined expense management scores well for
improving margins and operating leverage. Concurrently, Bank of
the Ozarks maintains stable capital management, which in turn,
leaves ample scope for pursuing capital deployment strategies. We
believe the upcoming quarters should benefit from the company's
operating and capital actions, as reflected in the market's
Some better-ranked banking stocks that warrant a look are
SY Bancorp Inc.
Access National Corp.
West BanCorp. Inc.
). All these stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
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