Astoria Financial Hits New 52-Week High


Shares of Astoria Financial Corporation (AF) reached a new 52-week high, touching $12.95 in the second half of the trading session on Aug 15. However, the stock closed at $12.92, reflecting a year-to-date return of 37.6%. The trading volume for the session was 1.3 million shares.

Despite the strong price appreciation, this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) bank has considerable upside left, given its positive estimate revisions over the last 30 days.

Growth Drivers

Astoria Financial’s impressive price performance came on the back of strong second-quarter 2013 results, including positive earnings surprise of 33.33%. The company also maintains a robust capital position in compliance with regulatory guidelines.

On Jul 17, Astoria Financial declared second-quarter adjusted earnings of 16 cents per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 12 cents. Moreover, net income of $15.7 million marked a 22.2% year-over-year increase.

Total non-interest income was 18.6 million, up 20.3% from the year-ago quarter. Further, net loan charge-offs fell to $4.8 million in the reported quarter from $11.8 million in the prior-year quarter.

Tier 1 risk- based capital ratio was 11.56% compared with 14.41% in second-quarter 2012. Further, Tier 1 leverage ratio was 9.53% as against 8.60% in the prior-year quarter.

Astoria Financial has delivered positive earnings surprises in the trailing 4 quarters with an average beat of 15.89%.

Estimate Revisions Show Potency

In the last 30 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013 increased 10.0% to 55 cents per share. For 2014, the Zacks Consensus Estimate advanced 9.3% to 59 cents per share over the same time frame.

Apart from Astoria Financial, other banks which are worth considering include Banner Corporation (BANR), Flushing Financial Corp. (FFIC) and Investors Bancorp Inc. (ISBC). All these stocks carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Read the Full Research Report on FFIC

Read the Full Research Report on ISBC

Read the Full Research Report on AF

Read the Full Research Report on BANR

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