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Bear of the Day

Westamerica Bancorp's (WABC) second quarter 2012 earnings were in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Results were adversely impacted by lower revenue. Reduced non-interest expenses, improving credit quality and stable capital ratios were the positives.

Due to challenging economic environment, net interest margin (NIM) in the second quarter declined to 4.89% from 5.38% in the prior-year period. We believe that the slow economic recovery and the Federal Reserve s decision to keep short-term interest rates low will keep NIM under pressure in the upcoming quarters.

Our six-month target price of $43.00 equates to about 14.3x the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2012. Combined with the $1.48 per share annual dividend, this price target implies an expected negative return of 7.0% over that period, which is consistent with our long-term Underperform recommendation.

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