Union First Upgraded to Strong Buy - Analyst Blog

By
A A A

On January 8, Zacks Investment Research upgraded Union First Market Bankshares Corporation ( UBSH ) to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Why the Upgrade?

Union First has been witnessing rising earnings estimates on the back of strong third-quarter 2012 results. Moreover, this well-known provider of banking and related financial services to retail and commercial customers delivered positive earnings surprises in 9 of the last 10 quarters. The long-term expected earnings growth rate for this stock is 12.0%.

Union First reported third-quarter results on October 22. Earnings per share came in at 37 cents, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate and year-ago earnings of 33 cents by 12.1%. Results benefited from an improved fee income, partly offset by higher expenses and a decline in net interest income.

The company's net interest income fell 1.7% year over year to $38.8 million. However, non-interest income totaled $15.6 million, jumping 36.3%, driven by higher other service charges, commissions and fees along with gains on sale of loans. Non-interest expenses soared 11.1% to $38.3 million, mainly due to higher salary and compensation costs.

Credit quality continued to improve at Union First. Provision for loan losses plummeted 33.3% from the prior-year quarter to $2.4 million. Similarly, as of September 30, 2012, nonperforming assets were 2.29% of total loans, down 79 basis points from the prior-year quarter.

Following strong third-quarter results, Union First also increased its quarterly dividend to 12 cents per share.  This reflects a 20% increase over the prior-quarter and a 71% jump over the prior-year quarter.   

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2012 increased 7.9% to $1.36 per share over the last 90 days. For 2013, the Zacks Consensus Estimate jumped 9.9% to $1.33 per share over the same time frame.

Other Stocks to Consider

IberiaBank Corp. ( IBKC ) and Cardinal Financial Corp. ( CFNL ) are the other regional banks with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).



CARDINAL FINL (CFNL): Free Stock Analysis Report

IBERIABANK CORP (IBKC): Free Stock Analysis Report

UNION FIRST MKT (UBSH): Free Stock Analysis Report

To read this article on Zacks.com click here.

Zacks Investment Research



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing , Business , Stocks

Referenced Stocks: CFNL , IBKC , UBSH

Zacks.com

Zacks.com

More from Zacks.com:

Related Videos

Budgeting for Baby
Budgeting for Baby                  
A Home to Retire In
A Home to Retire In                 

Stocks

Referenced

Most Active by Volume

86,692,048
  • $16.82 ▼ 1.35%
66,073,054
  • $13.30 ▼ 6.27%
54,801,491
  • $14.59 ▼ 1.35%
54,305,010
  • $76.55 ▼ 3.15%
53,982,567
  • $3.42 ▼ 2.01%
53,146,472
  • $97.21 ▼ 1.60%
50,334,521
  • $99.18 ▼ 1.56%
44,049,276
  • $25.03 ▼ 0.56%
As of 10/1/2014, 04:15 PM

Find a Credit Card

Select a credit card product by:
Select an offer:
Search
Data Provided by BankRate.com