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3 Reasons to Buy United Community Financial (UCFC) Stock Now

Zacks Equity Research

Underlying strength and good growth prospects make United Community Financial Corp. UCFC a solid bet now. The company’s Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current-year earnings has been revised 3.7% upward over the last 60 days, indicating analysts’ optimism about its earnings growth potential. As a result, the stock currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

The stock has gained 36.4% in a year’s time, outperforming the 9.7% growth for the industry it belongs to.

Given the positive estimate revisions and a solid Zacks Rank, we expect a decent upside for the stock in the near term.

Here are the factors that make the stock a viable investment option:

Earnings per Share (EPS) Growth: United Community Financial has witnessed EPS growth of 40% in the last three-five years, higher than the industry’s growth of 9.4%. This earnings momentum is likely to continue in the near term, as reflected by the company’s projected EPS growth of 36.6% and 10.7% for 2017 and 2018, respectively.

Also, the company has a decent earnings surprise history, having delivered an average beat of 1.7% in the trailing four quarters.

Revenue Strength: United Community Financial’s revenues have increased at a CAGR of 9.9% in the past three years (2014-2016). Moreover, the company’s projected sales growth of 24.8% and 8.1% for 2017 and 2018, respectively, is impressive.

Superior Return on Equity (ROE): United Community Financial has an ROE of 7.65%, slightly better than the industry average of 7.16%. This shows that the company reinvests its cash more efficiently.

Other Stocks to Consider

Other top-ranked stocks in the finance space are MutualFirst Financial, Inc. MFSF, Ameriprise Financial, Inc. AMP and Cohen & Steers, Inc. CNS.

MutualFirst Financial has witnessed an upward earnings estimate revision of 9% for the current year, over the last 60 days. Its share price has increased 27.2% in the past 12 months. The company currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Ameriprise Financial’s Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has been revised nearly 4% upward in the last 60 days. Its shares have gained 34.1% in the past 12 months. It carries a Zacks Rank #2.

Cohen & Steers carries a Zacks Rank #2. The stock has witnessed an upward earnings estimate revision of 2.6% for the current year over the past 60 days. Its shares price has declined nearly 12% in a year’s time.

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