On Jul 4, Zacks Investment Research upgraded
First Financial Bankshares Inc.
) to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
Why the Upgrade?
First Financial has been witnessing rising earnings estimates due
to the completion of an acquisition, hike in dividend and
better-than-expected first-quarter results. Moreover, this
regional bank has a long-term earnings growth forecast of 7.0%.
On May 31, First Financial announced the closure of a deal to
acquire Orange, Texas-based Orange Savings Bank, SSB. The
cash-and-stock transaction, announced in February, is valued at
approximately $56.0 million.
Additionally, in Apr 2013, First Financial declared 26 cents per
share cash dividend for the second quarter. This was 4.0% higher
than the prior-year quarter amount. The dividend was paid on Jul
1 to shareholders of record on Jun 14.
Moreover, First Financial announced first-quarter earnings of 59
cents per share, surpassing the Zacks Consensus estimate by
nearly 4%. Results were driven by almost stable net interest and
non-interest revenues, partially offset by a rise in operating
Notably, over the past 4 quarters, First Financial delivered
positive earnings surprises in 3 quarters, with an average beat
of 3.1%. Moreover, during the last 60 days, the Zacks Consensus
Estimate for 2013 increased 1.6% to $2.50 per share. For 2014,
the Zacks Consensus Estimate rose 3.1% to $2.65 per share over
the same time period.
Positive earnings surprises and favorable estimate revisions made
way for the rank upgrade.
Other Stocks to Consider
Other stocks in the banking sector that are worth a look include
Center Bancorp Inc.
Farmers Capital Bank Corporation
Central Pacific Financial Corp.
). All of them carry a Zacks Rank #1.
CENTER BANCORP (CNBC): Free Stock Analysis
CENTRAL PAC FIN (CPF): Free Stock Analysis
FIRST FIN BK-TX (FFIN): Free Stock Analysis
FARMERS CAP KY (FFKT): Free Stock Analysis
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