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Flushing Financial Upped to Strong Buy

Zacks Equity Research

On Jul 27, Zacks Investment Research upgraded Flushing Financial Corp. (FFIC) to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Why the Upgrade?

Flushing Financial has been witnessing rising earnings estimates following the announcement of strong second-quarter 2013 results. Moreover, this regional bank has a long-term earnings growth forecast of 7.0%.

Flushing Financial reported second-quarter 2013 results on Jul 23. Core earnings per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 13.8% and the year-ago earnings by 6.5%. Results benefited from higher fee income and a slight decline in operating expenses, partially offset by a drop in net interest income.

Net interest income fell 2.6% year over year to $37.3 million due to a 7.5% drop in total interest and dividend income. However, non-interest income almost doubled to $2.2 million. Furthermore, non-interest expense fell marginally to $20.2 million.

Further, asset quality during the quarter witnessed improvement. Provision for loan losses declined 30.0% year over year to $3.5 million. Further, net loan charge-offs were $2.7 million, down 54.0% from the prior-year quarter.

Moreover, during the last 30 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013 increased 8.9% to $1.22 per share. Similarly, for 2014, the Zacks Consensus Estimate advanced 7.9% to $1.37 per share over the same time period.

A positive earnings surprise, along with favorable estimate revisions made way for the rank upgrade.

Other Stocks to Consider

While we prefer Flushing Financial, other banks carrying a Zacks Rank #1 include Enterprise Financial Services Corp. (EFSC), Banner Corporation (BANR) and First Interstate Bancsystem Inc. (FIBK).

Read the Full Research Report on FFIC

Read the Full Research Report on FIBK

Read the Full Research Report on BANR

Read the Full Research Report on EFSC

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