On Mar 2, Zacks Investment Research upgraded Bridge Capital Holdings (BBNK) to Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
Why the Upgrade?
Bridge Capital has been witnessing rising earnings estimates owing to strong fourth quarter 2012 results. Moreover, this regional bank delivered positive earnings surprises in 3 of the last 4 quarters with an average beat of 19.9%.
Bridge Capital reported fourth-quarter results on Jan 24. Earnings per share came in at 23 cents, surpassing the year-ago earnings by 43.8%. Moreover, the earnings were in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Results were primarily aided by improved net interest income as well as non-interest income, partially offset by a rise in expenses and provision for credit losses
Net interest income jumped 22.0% year over year to $15.8 million. Further, non-interest income surged 42.3% to $1.0 million. Yet, total non-interest expenses hiked 9.9% year over year to $12.2 million.
Credit quality was mixed at Bridge Capital. Provision for credit losses climbed significantly from $0.6 million in the prior-year quarter to $1.5 million. However, as of Dec 31, 2012, nonperforming assets were 0.75% of total assets, down 63 basis points from the prior-year quarter. Moreover, nonperforming loans were 1.10% of total gross loans, down 45 bps from the prior-year quarter.
The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013 increased 8.2% to $1.05 per share as 1 out of 2 estimates was revised higher over the last 30 days. For 2014, over the same time frame, the Zacks Consensus Estimate rose by 7.3% to $1.18 per share.
Other Stocks to Consider
Besides Bridge Capital, other stock in the same sector like WesBanco Inc. (WSBC), Monarch Financial Holdings, Inc. (MNRK) and Bank of Kentucky Financial Corp. (BKYF) carry a Zacks Rank #1 and are worth considering.
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