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Astoria Financial Attains 52-Week High

Zacks Equity Research

Shares of Astoria Financial Corporation (AF) hit a new 52-week high, touching $14.26 four times in the first half of the trading session on Jan 2. However, the stock closed the session at $14.01, reflecting a return of 49.5% over the past year. The trading volume for the session was 924,783 shares.

Despite the strong price appreciation, this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) bank has considerable upside left, given its expected earnings per share (EPS) growth rate of 7.04% for 2013.

Growth Drivers

Astoria Financial’s impressive performance came on the back of strong third-quarter 2013 results, which included a positive earnings surprise of 7.14%. The company also maintains a robust capital position in compliance with the regulatory guidelines.

On Oct 16, Astoria Financial declared third-quarter earnings of 15 cents per share, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 14 cents. Moreover, net income of $14.7 million marked a 10.3% year-over-year increase.

Net interest income was $86.2 million, up 0.2% year over year. Further, provision for loan losses was $2.5 million, down 73.3% from the prior-year quarter. Additionally, non-interest expenses dropped 0.2% year over year to $72.5 million. However, total non-interest income was 15.3 million, down 7.6% from the year-ago quarter.

Additionally, Astoria Financial has delivered positive earnings surprises in the trailing 4 quarters with an average beat of 13.83%.

Estimate Revisions

In the last 60 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013 moved up 2% to 58 cents. For 2014, the Zacks Consensus Estimate also moved up 2% to 64 cents over the same time span.

Apart from Astoria Financial, other banks that are worth a look include Banner Corporation (BANR), Mutualfirst Financial Inc. (MFSF) and Washington Federal Inc. (WAFD). All these stocks carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Read the Full Research Report on WAFD
Read the Full Research Report on MFSF
Read the Full Research Report on AF
Read the Full Research Report on BANR

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