Sterling Financial Corporation
) hit a new 52-week high, touching $30.76 in the first half of
the trading session on Nov 12. However, the stock closed the
session at $30.52, which reflects a solid year-to-date return of
47.9%. The trading volume for the session was 147,675 shares.
Despite the strong price appreciation, this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold)
financial services firm has considerable upside left, given its
positive estimate revisions over the last 7 days and expected
year-over-year earnings growth of 7.50% for 2013.
Sterling Financial's impressive price performance benefited from
its steady capital deployment activities that included regular
payouts, special dividends and strategic acquisitions. Consistent
growth in loans and deposits, and improvement in credit quality
were the other tailwinds.
As of Sep 30, 2013, Sterling Financial's total deposits were $6.8
billion up 1.7% year over year. Total loan balances were $7.2
billion versus $6.1 billion as of Sep 30, 2012.
Net charge-offs were $1.2 million, down 80.0% from the prior-year
quarter. Sterling Financial's nonperforming assets were 1.36% of
total assets, as against 2.73% as of Sep 30, 2012.
On Oct 24, Sterling Financial declared third-quarter operating
earnings of 33 cents per share, lagging the Zacks Consensus
Estimate of 40 cents. The disappointing results were due to a
fall in the company's mortgage activities and an increase in
merger and acquisition related expenses.
Estimate Revisions Show Potency
In the last 7 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013
increased 0.7% to $1.53 per share. For 2014, the Zacks Consensus
Estimate advanced 0.7% to $1.54 per share over the same time
Better performing financial organizations include
Investors Bancorp Inc.
Meridian Interstate Bancorp, Inc.
Mutualfirst Financial Inc.
). All these stocks carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
MERIDIAN INTRST (EBSB): Free Stock Analysis
INVESTORS BANCP (ISBC): Free Stock Analysis
MUTUALFIRST FIN (MFSF): Free Stock Analysis
STERLING FIN WA (STSA): Free Stock Analysis
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.