Fox Chase Bancorp Up to Strong Buy on Capital Deployment - Analyst Blog

On Aug 14, Zacks Investment Research upgraded Fox Chase Bancorp, Inc. ( FXCB ) to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Why the Upgrade?

Fox Chase Bancorp's rank upgrade came on the back of enhanced capital deployment activities as well as impressive second-quarter 2014 results.

Along with the second-quarter earnings release on Jul 30, Fox Chase Bancorp announced a 20% hike in its quarterly common stock dividend to 12 cents per share. The dividend will be paid on Aug 28 to the shareholders of record as of Aug 14.

Moreover, the regional bank declared that the board of directors approved an additional 5% stock buyback plan. The company will commence the "July 2014 Plan" after the closure of the ongoing repurchase plan. As of Jun 30, 2014, the bank had 238,529 shares remaining under the existing plan.

Moving on to the second-quarter earnings, Fox Chase Bancorp reported impressive quarterly results with a significant rise in earnings per share to 20 cents from 9 cents in the year-ago quarter. Moreover, the figure beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 17.6%.

Better-than-expected results were achieved by higher net interest income and fall in non-interest expenses, partially offset by lower non-interest income. Moreover, reduction in credit related costs, improved commercial lending portfolios and a strong capital position were among the positives.

The positive sentiment has been reflected in earnings estimate revisions. For 2014, the Zacks Consensus Estimate increased 11.3% to 79 cents per share over the last 30 days. For 2015, the Zacks Consensus Estimate grew 10.5% to 84 cents per share over the same time period.

Other Stocks to Consider

Other Northeast banks worth considering include Square 1 Financial, Inc. ( SQBK ), S&T Bancorp Inc. ( STBA ) and Territorial Bancorp Inc. ( TBNK ). All these stocks sport the same Zacks Rank as Fox Chase Bancorp.

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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.

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

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