On Jan 2, 2014, Zacks Investment Research upgraded
United Community Banks, Inc.
) to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
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Why the Upgrade?
United Community Banks has been witnessing rising earnings
estimates driven by announcement of the impending TARP repayments
and strong third-quarter results. Moreover, this bank holding
company has a long-term earnings growth rate of 8.0%.
On Dec 30, 2013, United Community Banks declared it has received
regulatory approval for redemption of $180 million in Series B
preferred stock issued under the U.S. Treasury's TARP Program and
$16.8 million in Series A and Series D preferred stock. Notably,
the company completed the first phase of this plan by redeeming
$75 million of the TARP preferred stock on Dec 27, 2013, and
plans to redeem the remaining balance of $105 million by mid-Jan
On Oct 24, 2013, United Community Banks declared third-quarter
earnings of 21 cents per share, which beat the Zacks Consensus
Estimate by 10.5%. Better-than-expected results were attributable
to top-line growth and decline in operating expenses. Moreover,
the company witnessed a year-over-year surge in loan and deposits
and credit quality improved as well.
The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013 increased nearly 1% to
$4.47 per share over the last 90 days. For 2014, the Estimate
surged 22.0% to $1.11 per share over the same time frame.
Other Stocks to Consider
Other bank holding stocks worth considering include
State Bank Financial Corporation
First NBC Bank Holding Company
). All these carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).