4 Reasons to Invest in Associated Banc-Corp (ASB) Stock Now

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Associated Banc-CorpASB remains well positioned for both organic as well as inorganic growth, supported by the continued rise in loan demand, higher interest rates and a solid liquidity position. Moreover, impressive credit quality is expected to support its financials in the future.

The company's Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings have been revised 3.6% upward over the past 30 days, reflecting analysts' optimism regarding its earnings growth potential. Thus, it seems to be a wise idea to add this banking stock to your portfolio now.

Moreover, shares of this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock have gained 8.5% in the past six months, outperforming 5.3% growth recorded by the industry .

Here are some other factors that make the stock an attractive investment option right now.

Revenue Strength : Associated Banc-Corp remains focused on its organic growth strategy, depicted by consistent growth in loan and deposit balances as well as net interest income (NII) over the past several years. NII saw a CAGR of 3.5% in the last five years (2013-2017).

Moreover, the company's projected sales growth of 17.3% for 2018 and 4.9% for 2019 ensures the continuation of the upward trend in revenues.

Earnings Per Share (EPS) Growth : Over the past three to five years, Associated Banc-Corp witnessed EPS growth of 9.2%, higher than the industry average of 8.8%. Notably, the company has an impressive earnings surprise history, having delivered positive surprises in each of the trailing four quarters, with an average beat of 12%.

Moreover, the company's earnings are projected to grow nearly 34% in 2018, higher than 31.8% predicted for the industry. Further, the company's long-term (three to five years) estimated EPS growth rate of 7% promises rewards for investors.

Steady Capital Deployment : Associated Banc-Corp raises dividends on a regular basis. The latest hike of 7.1% was announced in February. Furthermore, the company announced additional share repurchase authorization of up to $100 million in April 2018. Given a strong balance sheet and capital position, and earnings strength, the company is expected to continue enhancing shareholder value through efficient capital deployment activities.

Stock Seems Undervalued : Associated Banc-Corp seems undervalued when compared with the broader industry. Its current price-earnings (F1) and price-cash flow ratios of 13.3 and 11.5 are lower than the respective industry averages of 14.6 and 14.8.

Moreover, the stock has a Value Score of B. Our research shows that stocks with a Style Score of A or B, when combined with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2, offer the best upside potential.

Other Stocks Worth Considering

Some other top-ranked stocks worth considering from the same industry are Commerce Bancshares, Inc. CBSH , Enterprise Financial Services Corp EFSC and Wintrust Financial Corporation WTFC .

Over the past 60 days, Commerce Bancshares witnessed an upward earnings estimate revision of 7.2% for 2018. Its share price has increased 28.9% over the past year. The stock currently sports a Zacks Rank of 1. You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here .

Enterprise Financial currently has a Zacks Rank of 2. It has witnessed an upward earnings estimate revision of 3.3% for the current year over the past 60 days. Its shares have surged 43.7% in the past year.

Wintrust Financial also has a Zacks Rank #2. Its earnings estimates have been revised upward by nearly 2.7% over the past 60 days. Its shares have rallied 20.5% last year.

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

This article appears in: Investing , Business , Stocks
Referenced Symbols: CBSH , WTFC , ASB , EFSC

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