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Popular (BPOP) Hits 52-Week High, Can the Run Continue?

Have you been paying attention to shares of Popular (BPOP)? Shares have been on the move with the stock up 11.4% over the past month. The stock hit a new 52-week high of $56.49 in the previous session. Popular has gained 56.9% since the start of the year compared to the -4.9% move for the Zacks Finance sector and the -3.8% return for the Zacks Banks - Southeast industry.

What's Driving the Outperformance?

The stock has a great record of positive earnings surprises, as it hasn't missed our earnings consensus estimate in any of the last four quarters. In its last earnings report on October 24, 2018, Popular reported EPS of $1.38 versus consensus estimate of $1.28 while it beat the consensus revenue estimate by 2.8%.

For the current fiscal year, Popular is expected to post earnings of $4.89 per share on $2.27 billion in revenues. This represents an 82.84% change in EPS on a 18.27% change in revenues. For the next fiscal year, the company is expected to earn $5.9 per share on $2.44 billion in revenues. This represents a year-over-year change of 20.51% and 7.31%, respectively.

Valuation Metrics

Popular may be at a 52-week high right now, but what might the future hold for the stock? A key aspect of this question is taking a look at valuation metrics in order to determine if the company is due for a pullback from this level.

On this front, we can look at the Zacks Style Scores, as they provide investors with an additional way to sort through stocks (beyond looking at the Zacks Rank of a security). These styles are represented by grades running from A to F in the categories of Value, Growth, and Momentum, while there is a combined VGM Score as well. The idea behind the style scores is to help investors pick the most appropriate Zacks Rank stocks based on their individual investment style.

Popular has a Value Score of A. The stock's Growth and Momentum Scores are C and D, respectively, giving the company a VGM Score of B.

In terms of its value breakdown, the stock currently trades at 11.4X current fiscal year EPS estimates. On a trailing cash flow basis, the stock currently trades at 18.2X versus its peer group's average of 15X. This isn't enough to put the company in the top echelon of all stocks we cover from a value perspective.

Zacks Rank

We also need to look at the Zacks Rank for the stock, as this supersedes any trend on the style score front. Fortunately, Popular currently has a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy) thanks to rising earnings estimates.

Since we recommend that investors select stocks carrying Zacks Rank of 1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B, it looks as if Popular meets the list of requirements. Thus, it seems as though Popular shares could still be poised for more gains ahead.

How Does Popular Stack Up to the Competition?

Shares of Popular have been moving higher, and the company still appears to be a decent choice, but what about the rest of the industry? Some of its industry peers are also solid potential picks, including Access National (ANCX), State Bank Financial Corporation. (STBZ), and IBERIABANK (IBKC), all of which currently have a Zacks Rank of at least #2 and a VGM Score of at least B, making them well-rounded choices.

However, it is worth noting that the Zacks Industry Rank for this group is in the bottom half of the ranking, so it isn't all good news for Popular. Still, the fundamentals for Popular are promising, and it still has potential despite being at a 52-week high.

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Popular, Inc. (BPOP) : Free Stock Analysis Report
IBERIABANK Corporation (IBKC) : Free Stock Analysis Report
State Bank Financial Corporation. (STBZ) : Free Stock Analysis Report
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