Shares of Preferred Bank (PFBC) hit a 52-week high, touching $23.18 in the second half of the trading session on Feb 14. However, the stock closed the session at $22.96, which reflects a solid year to date return of 13.2%. The trading volume for the session was 33,124 shares.
Despite the strong price appreciation, this Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stock has plenty of upside left, given its strong estimate revisions over the last 30 days.
Impressive fourth-quarter 2013 results that included significant improvement in the credit quality, along with a strong capital position were the primary growth drivers for Preferred Bank.
On Jan 22, the company reported its fourth-quarter earnings of 44 cents per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 19.0%. With this, the company has delivered positive earnings surprises in the trailing 4 quarters, with an average beat of 21.5%.
A year-over-year increase of 15.5% in net interest income and decline of 33.6% in non-interest expenses were tailwinds for the quarter. Also, asset quality improved markedly as provision for loan losses decreased 21.7% year over year.
Nonaccrual loans declined 55.3% year over year while the quarter witnessed net recoveries as against net charge-offs in the prior-year quarter. On the flip side, non-interest income fell 71% year over year.
Estimate Revisions Show Potency
Over the last 30 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2014 advanced 6.0% to $1.58 per share. Similarly, for 2015, it moved north by 8.0% to $1.76 per share.
Some other Zacks Rank #1 stocks in the banking sector include Sierra Bancorp (BSRR), Summit State Bank (SSBI) and Western Alliance Bancorp (WAL).