Arkansas-based Bank OZK (NASDAQ: OZK) reported fourth-quarter results today, and investors were clearly impressed. As of 11:20 a.m. EST on Friday, shares were up by about 15%.
Bank OZK beat estimates on both the top and bottom lines. Earnings of $0.89 per share came in $0.06 ahead of expectations, and revenue of $255.94 million was about 4% higher than analysts had been looking for.
Digging a bit deeper, the bank's results looked rather strong all around. Loans grew by nearly 7% year over year, deposits increased by 4.3%, and book value per share increased by nearly 9% over the past year.
Bank OZK's efficiency ratio of 36.9% is among the best in the industry, as is its fourth-quarter return on assets of 2.04%. In all, the fourth quarter was the bank's most profitable of the year.
It's interesting to note that this positive surprise comes on the heels of an absolutely terrible third quarter in which Bank OZK reported massive loan losses that shocked investors. Earnings and revenue both badly missed estimates, sending shares down sharply after that dismal report.
So a big part of today's pop is the reassurance that the bank's strong fourth-quarter report shows. There's no way to know at this point if Bank OZK's third-quarter issues are completely in the rearview mirror, but it's fair to say that investors are breathing a sigh of relief today.
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