On Dec 25, Zacks Investment Research upgraded Northfield Bancorp, Inc. (NFBK) to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
Why the Upgrade?
Northfield Bancorp has witnessed positive estimate revisions on the back of strong third-quarter 2013 results. Further, the company has delivered positive earnings surprises in 3 of the last 4 quarters, with an average beat of 9.53%. Moreover, the long-term expected earnings growth rate for this stock is 5%.
On Oct 23, Northfield Bancorp reported third-quarter results with earnings per share of 9 cents beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 28.7%.
Results benefited from increased revenues, partially offset by higher operating expenses and a rise in provision for credit losses.
Net interest income rose 13.7% year over year to $19.3 million. Moreover, non-interest income increased 51.3% to $2.6 million. On the flip side, non-interest expense rose 10.7% from the prior-year quarter to $13.3 million.
Further, asset quality was a mixed bag. Non-performing assets decreased 16.6% from the prior quarter to $20.2 million. However, provisions for loan losses of $0.8 million were up 96.0% sequentially.
Additionally, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013 and 2014 increased marginally to 32 cents per share and 31 cents per share, respectively.
Positive earnings surprises and favorable estimate revisions stimulated the rank upgrade.
Other Stocks to Consider
Besides Lazard, other saving and loan institutes worth considering include Investors Bancorp Inc. (ISBC), Great Southern Bancorp Inc. (GSBC) and Teche Holding Company (TSH). All these stocks carry the same Zacks Rank as Northfield Bancorp.