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First Pactrust Upped to Strong Buy

Zacks Equity Research

On May 11, Zacks Investment Research upgraded First Pactrust Bancorp, Inc. (BANC) to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Why the Upgrade?

First Pactrust Bancorp has been witnessing rising earnings estimates on the back of strong first-quarter 2013 results. This regional banking services provider has delivered a 400.0% earnings surprise in the quarter. Further, the long-term expected earnings growth rate for this stock is 15.0%.

The company reported its first-quarter 2013 results on May 8 with earnings per share of 5 cents, easily beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 1 cent. This compared favorably with the prior-quarter loss of 30 cents.

Robust results were primarily aided by higher non-interest as well as net interest income, and lower provision for loan losses. However, higher expenses were among the negatives.

Net interest income came in at $15.4 million, up 3.5% from the prior quarter. Non-interest income jumped 12.3% sequentially to $17.9 million. Provision for loan losses decreased to $2.2 million as compared with $3.5 million in the prior quarter.

However, on the downside, non-interest expense rose 2.1% from the prior quarter to $29.6 million.

Credit quality continued to improve. Non-accrual loans were $16.5 million, falling 28.1% sequentially. Net charge-offs were $0.6 million, down from $1.4 million in the prior quarter.

Following first-quarter results, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013 increased 8.3% to 78 cents per share over the last 30 days. For 2014, the Zacks Consensus Estimate rose by 2.4% to $1.42 per share.

Other Stocks to Consider

Other stocks in the same sector with a Zacks Rank #1 include Preferred Bank (PFBC), TriCo Bancshares (TCBK) and American National Bankshares Inc. (AMNB).

Read the Full Research Report on BANC

Read the Full Research Report on PFBC

Read the Full Research Report on AMNB

Read the Full Research Report on TCBK

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