Banner Corp Hits New 52-Week High

Zacks Equity Research

Shares of Banner Corporation (BANR) crafted a new 52-week high, touching $39.95 in the first half of the trading session on Nov 18. However, the stock closed the session at $39.81, which reflects a solid year-to-date return of 29.3%. The trading volume for the session was 72,621 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 30 days and expected long-term earnings growth of 8.3%.

Growth Drivers

Impressive third-quarter 2013 results including significant improvement in the credit quality as well as a strong capital position were the primary growth drivers for Banner Corporation.

On Oct 23, Banner Corporation reported its third-quarter 2013 earnings of 60 cents per share, in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. However, results were below the prior-year quarter earnings of 79 cents.

A year-over-year increase of 5.5% in net interest income and a substantial rise in deposits and loans were the tailwinds for the quarter. Asset quality exhibited marked improvement with nonperforming assets declining almost 50% year over year. Also, provision for loan losses was nil and net charge off declined 14 bps to 0.01%.

Moreover, the company’s capital ratios remained strong. However, a 13.2% dip in other operating income and an increase of 3.1% in operating expenses acted as headwinds for the quarter.

Estimate Revisions Show Potency

Over the last 30 days, 5 out of 5 estimates for 2013 have been revised upward, lifting the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 3.35% to $2.47 per share. For 2014, 2 out of 5 estimates moved north, helping the Zacks Consensus Estimate advance roughly 1% to $2.34 per share.

Some better performing Savings and Loan Institutes include Investors Bancorp Inc. (ISBC), Meridian Interstate Bancorp, Inc. (EBSB) and Mutualfirst Financial Inc. (MFSF). All these companies carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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Read the Full Research Report on MFSF
Read the Full Research Report on EBSB
Read the Full Research Report on ISBC

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