On Mar 6, Zacks Investment Research upgraded
) to Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
Why the Upgrade?
Popular Inc has been witnessing rising earnings estimates owing
to strong fourth quarter 2012 results and announcement of balance
sheet restructuring initiative. Moreover, this regional bank
delivered positive earnings surprises in 3 of the last 4 quarters
with an average beat of 42.3%.
Popular Inc reported fourth-quarter results on Jan 24. Earnings
came in at 81 cents per share, surpassing the Zacks Consensus
Estimate of 51 cents by 58.8% and significantly outpacing the
year-ago earnings of 2 cents. Results were primarily aided by a
solid improvement in net interest income and a fall in expenses,
partially offset by a decline in fee income.
Net interest income inched up 1.6% year over year to $350.4
million. Yet, non-interest income declined 11.0% to $133.0
million. Operating expenses fell 4.6% year over year to $296.7
Further on Mar 1, Popular Inc. announced that its main banking
subsidiary - Banco Popular de Puerto Rico - has entered into a
definitive agreement to sell a portfolio of certain
non-performing loans with an aggregate unpaid principal balance
of about $1.0 billion. The deal was signed with a firm, majority
of which is owned by a joint venture between Caribbean Property
Group LLC and certain affiliated funds of Perella Weinberg
Partners Asset Based Value Strategy.
The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013 increased 5.1% to $2.47 per
share as 2 of the 3 estimates were revised higher over the last
60 days. For 2014, all 3 estimates were revised up over the same
time frame, lifting the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 7.6% to $2.98
Other Stocks to Consider
Besides Popular Inc, other southeast banks like
Access National Corp.
Capital City Bank Group Inc.
) carry a Zacks Rank #1 and are worth considering.
ACCESS NATL CP (ANCX): Free Stock Analysis
BNC BANCORP (BNCN): Free Stock Analysis
POPULAR INC (BPOP): Free Stock Analysis
CAPITAL CITY BK (CCBG): Free Stock Analysis
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.