First Connecticut Upped to Strong Buy - Analyst Blog
On Mar 12, Zacks Investment Research upgraded
First Connecticut Bancorp, Inc.
) to Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
Why the Upgrade?
First Connecticut has been witnessing rising earnings estimates owing to strong fourth quarter 2012 results. Moreover, this regional bank delivered positive earnings surprises in 3 of the last 4 quarters with an average beat of 44.4%.
First Connecticut reported fourth-quarter results on Mar 1. Earnings came in at 20 cents per share, significantly outpacing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 6 cents and reversing the year-ago loss of 9 cents. Results were primarily aided by a solid top-line growth, partially offset by a rise in expenses.
Net interest income surged 14.1% year over year to $14.1 million. Further, non-interest income advanced substantially to $4.1 million. Operating expenses grew 1.9% year over year to $13.0 million.
Improvement in asset quality continues to be a major positive for First Connecticut. Provision for allowance for loan losses declined significantly from the prior-year quarter to $0.3 million. Likewise, nonperforming loans stood at 0.76% of total loans, down 20 basis points year over year.
The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013 increased 57.1% to 44 cents per share over the last 30 days. For 2014, over the same time frame, the Zacks Consensus Estimate moved north by 4.4% to 48 cents per share.
Other Stocks to Consider
Besides First Connecticut, other regional banks such as The Bancorp Inc. ( TBBK ), Center Bancorp Inc. ( CNBC ) and Old National Bancorp. ( ONB ) carry a Zacks Rank #1 and are worth considering.
CENTER BANCORP (CNBC): Free Stock Analysis Report
FIRST CT BANCRP (FBNK): Free Stock Analysis Report
OLD NATL BCP (ONB): Free Stock Analysis Report
BANCORP BNK/THE (TBBK): Free Stock Analysis Report
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