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6 Reasons to Invest in First BanCorp (FBP) Stock Right Now

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It seems to be a wise idea to add First BanCorp. FBP stock to your portfolio now. Driven by strong fundamentals and good growth prospects, the company looks like a promising investment option amid the coronavirus outbreak-induced economic uncertainty.

Of late, analysts have been optimistic regarding its earnings growth potential. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s 2021 earnings has been revised 14.7% upward over the past 60 days. Thus, it currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Looking at its price performance, shares of First BanCorp have surged 44.7% in the past six months compared with growth of 40.5% for the industry it belongs to.

Zacks Investment Research
Zacks Investment Research

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Mentioned below are some of the key factors that make First BanCorp a solid pick right now.

Earnings Per Share (EPS) Growth: The company witnessed earnings growth of 8.2% in the last three to five years. This earnings momentum is likely to continue in the near term as indicated by the company’s projected EPS growth rate (F1/F0) of 165.9% and 9% for 2021 and 2022, respectively.

Revenue Strength: First BanCorp’s revenues witnessed a CAGR of 4.5% over the last five years (2016-2020). The uptrend in revenues is expected to continue in the near term, as can be seen from the company’s projected sales growth rates of 17.1% for 2021 and 4.1% for 2022.

Robust capital deployment plan: First BanCorp has an impressive capital deployment plan in place. The bank increased its quarterly dividend in January 2021 by 40%. On Apr 26, 2021, the bank announced a stock repurchase program, under which it may repurchase up to $300 million of its outstanding stock, beginning in the second quarter of 2021 through Jun 30, 2022.

Further, it continues to return capital to shareholders through share repurchases. Given the strong balance sheet position and earnings strength, the bank will be able to sustain its capital deployment actions.

Strong balance sheet position: As of Mar 31, 2021, the company had a debt level of $923.8 million, which has declined over the past few quarters. Debt-to-capital ratio of 0.22, as of the same date, witnessed a stable trend. The company's cash and cash equivalents & dues from banks were $1.5 billion on the same date. With an improving times interest earned ratio of 9.8 and earnings strength, First BanCorp — carrying a low credit risk — has a lesser likelihood of default of interest and debt repayments, if the economic situation worsens.

Valuation Favorable: First BanCorp stock looks undervalued right now with respect to its price-to-earnings (P/E) (F1) ratios. It has a P/E ratio of 10.8, below the industry average of 11.98.

The stock has a Value Score of B. The Value Score condenses all valuation metrics into one actionable score that helps investors steer clear of “value traps” and identify stocks that are truly trading at a discount.

Favorable VGM Score: The company has a VGM Score of B. VGM Score helps to identify stocks with the most attractive value, best growth and the most promising momentum. Back-tested results show that stocks with a style score of A or B, when combined with a Zacks Rank #1 or 2 (Buy) offer the best investment opportunities.

Other Stocks to Consider

Western Alliance Bancorporation WAL witnessed a 19.6% upward estimate revision in the past 60 days. The company’s shares have rallied 69.8% so far this year. It carries a Zacks Rank #2 at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Bank of Hawaii Corporation’s BOH shares have gained 15.9% so far this year. Further, the company’s earnings estimates for the ongoing year have moved 15.8% north in the past 60 days. It currently has a Zacks Rank of 2.

UMB Financial Corporation UMBF has witnessed 26.2% upward estimates revision for the current-year in the past 60 days. Shares of this Zacks #2 Ranked stock have gained 41.8% so far this year.

5 Stocks Set to Double

Each was hand-picked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2020. Each comes from a different sector and has unique qualities and catalysts that could fuel exceptional growth.

Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.

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