Shares of Washington Federal Inc. ( WAFD ) crafted a new 52-week high, touching $24.15 in the second half of the trading session on Jan 10. The closing price of this savings and loans institute represents a solid full-year return of 43.5%. The trading volume for the session was around 503,236 shares.
Despite hitting its 52-week high, this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock has plenty of upside left, given its strong estimate revisions over the last 60 days and expected long-term earnings growth of 7.5%.
The recent acquisition of 51 retail branches of Bank of America Corp. ( BAC ), strong capital deployment activities and impressive fiscal fourth-quarter 2013 (ended Sep 30) results were the primary growth drivers for Washington Federal.
In Dec 2013, Washington Federal completed the acquisition of 51 retail branches of Bank of America located in Eastern Washington, Idaho, Oregon and New Mexico for $39 million. The deal assumed total deposits and total loans of about $1.5 billion and around $11 million, respectively.
On Oct 14, Washington Federal reported fourth-quarter 2013 (ended Sep 30) earnings of $1.34 per share, outpacing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 13.9%. A year-over-year increase of 5.2% in net interest income along with improvement in profitability ratios and credit quality translated into better-than-expected results.
Further, Washington Federal continued with its efficient capital deployment activities. During fiscal 2013, the company returned 98% of net income to shareholders in the form of cash dividends and share repurchases.
Estimate Revisions Show Potency
Over the last 60 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for fiscal 2014 advanced nearly 2% to $1.59 per share, while for fiscal 2015 it moved north 1.2% to $1.67 per share.