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On Jun 29, Zacks Investment Research upgraded SY Bancorp Inc. (SYBT - Snapshot Report) to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
 
Why the Upgrade?
 
SY Bancorp has been witnessing rising earnings estimates due to the completion of an acquisition, and better-than-expected first-quarter results. Moreover, this regional bank has a long-term earnings growth forecast of 10.0%.
 
On May 1, SY Bancorp announced the closure of a deal to acquire La Grange, Ky.-based THE BANCorp, Inc. The deal, announced in Dec 2012, increased the company’s footprint to 35 branches in 3 major metropolitan areas of Louisville, Indianapolis and Cincinnati. The cash-and-stock transaction is valued at roughly $19.9 million.
 
Additionally, in Apr 2013, SY Bancorp announced its first-quarter earnings of 49 cents per share, surpassing the Zacks Consensus estimate by nearly 9%. Results were driven by almost stable net interest and non-interest revenues, partially offset by a rise in operating expenses. 
 
Notably, out of the past 4 quarters, SY Bancorp delivered positive earnings surprise in 2 quarters, while reporting in-line results for the other 2 quarters, with average beat of 6.6%. Moreover, during the last 60 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013 increased 1.1% to $1.90 per share. For 2014, the Zacks Consensus Estimate has remained stable at $1.81 per share over the same time period.
 
Positive earnings surprises, along with favorable estimate revisions made way for the rank upgrade.
 
Other Stocks to Consider
 
Other stocks in the banking sector that are worth a look include Ameris Bancorp (ABCB - Snapshot Report), Farmers Capital Bank Corporation (FFKT - Snapshot Report) and Home Bancshares, Inc. (Conway, AR) (HOMB - Snapshot Report) – all of which carry a Zacks Rank #1.

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