On Dec 24, Zacks Investment Research upgraded
) to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
Why the Upgrade?
First Bancorp witnessed rising earnings estimates on the back of
solid earnings results. This bank holding company delivered
positive earnings surprises in 3 of the last 4 quarters with an
average beat of 11.8%. The long-term expected earnings growth
rate for this stock is 10%.
In the last reported quarter, First Bancorp's non-GAAP earnings
came in at 30 cents per share, exceeding the Zacks Consensus
Estimate by 20% and the year-ago earnings by 36.4%.
Lower provisions for loan losses, and lower foreclosed property
losses and write-downs largely aided the outperformance.
While total non-interest income surged 100% in the third quarter,
provision for loan losses on non-covered loans witnessed
improvement. First Bancorp also has a sturdy capital
First Bancorp's inorganic story seems impressive with Four Oaks
Banks & Trust Company, generating additional $16 million of
loans and $57 million of deposits for First Bancorp.
With respect to returning value to shareholders, the company
regularly pays back its shareholders. Its dividend yields
These positives prompted the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013 to
witness an 11% increase to $1.00 per share, as most of the
estimates were revised higher over the last 60 days. For 2014
too, the Zacks Consensus Estimate moved north by 19.6% to $1.22
per share, as most of the estimates were also revised higher over
the same time frame.
Other Stocks to Consider
Other players in the banking industry, which look attractive at
current levels, include
City Holding Co
First NBC Bank Holding Company
Omniamerican Bancorp, Inc
). All these stocks hold the same Zacks Rank as First
CITY HLDGS CO (CHCO): Free Stock Analysis
FIRST BCP-NC (FBNC): Free Stock Analysis
FIRST NBC BANK (NBCB): Free Stock Analysis
OMNIAMERICAN BC (OABC): Get Free Report
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