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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: First Financial Bankshares, FS Bancorp, Northfield Bancorp, Great Western Bancorp and Flagstar Bancorp

Zacks Equity Research

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – October 15, 2019 – Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include: First Financial Bankshares, Inc. FFIN, FS Bancorp, Inc. FSBW, Northfield Bancorp, Inc. NFBK, Great Western Bancorp, Inc. GWB and Flagstar Bancorp, Inc. FBC.

Here are highlights from Monday’s Analyst Blog:

U.S.-China Trade Truce Lifts Treasury Yields: 5 Bank Stocks to Buy

President Trump recently said that both the United States and China have reached an agreement to ease trade tensions by delaying tariff hikes that were set to kick in this week. Trump told reporters at the Oval office that the Washington and Beijing reached a “substantial, phase-one” deal to ease trade tensions.

As part of this new phase, China will be purchasing between $40 billion and $50 billion U.S. agricultural commodities. Trump also said that to some extent foreign-exchange issues with China have been sorted. The pact will surely discourage China from devaluing its currency.

Meanwhile, the United States has agreed to hold off tariffs that were set to take effect on Oct 15. What’s more, the United States may lessen exports bans on blacklisted Chinese telecom behemoth Huawei Technologies Co. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also sounded optimistic and said that both the sides have struck an “almost complete agreement” over trade and currency disputes.

Investors have been eagerly waiting for some encouraging news on the trade front. Lest we forget, a flurry of headlines raised doubts about whether the U.S.-China trade talks will be fruitful. Both Washington and Beijing were supposed to resume talks with import tariffs set at $250 billion worth of Chinese commodities at a rate of 30%. But, chances of successful trade talks diminished after the Trump administration blacklisted 28 Chinese companies, including AI firms, over human rights concerns.

Nonetheless, hopes of at least a limited U.S.-China trade deal helped the stock market scale northward. The Dow jumped more than 300 points on Oct 11, helping the blue-chip index put an end to a three-week losing streak. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq a ended the week in the green.

Among the sectors, tech and chipmakers rose significantly.

Most importantly, bank stocks gained traction. Shares of bank stocks moved north as U.S. treasury yields rose. As investors took money out of bonds and opted for stocks, bond prices declined, leading to an uptick in yields. Needless to say, a rise in long-term yields boosts banks’ profit margin as it increases the spread between what banks earn by funding longer-term assets, such as loans, and shorter-term liabilities.

Meanwhile, the yield on the 10-year Treasury bond rose 9.9 basis points to 1.748%, a three-week high. At the same time, the yield on the 30-year Treasury note advanced 6.4 basis points to 2.210%, extending a weeklong climb of 19.3 basis points.

5 Best Bank Stocks to Buy Now

We have, thus, selected five solid bank stocks that are poised to gain from rise in bond yields. These stocks boast a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

First Financial Bankshares, Inc.provides commercial banking products and services, primarily in Texas. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings has risen 0.8% over the past 90 days. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 10.1%, more than the Banks - Southwest industry’s projected rally of 9.5%.

FS Bancorp, Inc. operates as a bank holding company for 1st Security Bank of Washington that provides banking and financial services. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-quarter earnings has moved up 1.4% over the past 60 days. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current quarter is 25.9%, in contrast to the Banks - West industry’s projected decline of 1.6%.

Northfield Bancorp, Inc.operates as the bank holding company for Northfield Bank that provides various banking products and services, primarily to individuals and corporate customers. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings has climbed 2.7% over the past 90 days. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current quarter is 26.3%, in contrast to the Financial - Savings and Loan industry’s projected decline of 5.9%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Great Western Bancorp, Inc. operates as the bank holding company for Great Western Bank that provides business and agri-business banking, retail banking, and wealth management services in the United States. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its next-year earnings has moved 0.3 % north over the past 60 days. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current quarter is 9.7%, in contrast to the Banks - Northeast industry’s estimated decline of 1.4%.

Flagstar Bancorp, Inc. operates as a savings and loan holding company for Flagstar Bank, FSB that provides commercial and consumer banking services to individuals and businesses in the United States. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings has risen 5.8% over the past 60 days. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 8.3%, more than the Financial - Savings and Loan industry’s expected rally of 2.4%.

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit https://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.


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