Shares of Zions Bancorp. (ZION) crafted a new 52-week high, touching $28.32 in the first half of the trading session on May 29, 2013. The closing price of this financial holding company represents a solid year-to-date return of 28.0%. The trading volume over the last 3 months was 1.9 million shares.
Despite hitting its 52-week high, this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock has plenty of upside left given its strong estimate revisions over the last 60 days and expected year-over-year earnings growth of 45.23% for 2013.
Impressive first-quarter 2013 results – including an earnings surprise of 23.08% – and encouraging capital deployment activities were the primary growth drivers.
On Apr 22, 2013, Zions reported adjusted first-quarter 2013 earnings of 49 cents per share, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 39 cents and the prior-quarter earnings of 21 cents. Better-than-expected results were aided by growth in fee income and a decline in operating expenses, partially offset by a fall in net interest income.
On Apr 19, 2013, Zions’ board of directors quadrupled its quarterly dividend on its outstanding common stock. The increased dividend stands at 4 cents per share, marking a massive 300% hike from the previous dividend of 1 cent per share.
Moreover, the company has delivered positive earnings surprises in the 3 of the last 4 quarters with an average beat of 6.89%.
Estimate Revisions Show Potency
Over the last 60 days, 14 out of 17 estimates for 2013 have been revised upward, lifting the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 4.1% to $1.77 per share. For 2014, 9 out of 17 estimates moved higher over the same time frame, helping the Zacks Consensus Estimate advance 1.1% to $1.92 per share.
Other banks that are also worth considering include Central Pacific Financial Corp. (CPF), Preferred Bank (PFBC) and TriCo Bancshares (TCBK). All these carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
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