Back to top

Analyst Blog

On Jul 2, Zacks Investment Research upgraded Center Bancorp Inc. to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Why the Upgrade?

Center Bancorp has been witnessing rising earnings estimates on the back of strong first-quarter 2013 results along with solid capital deployment activities. Moreover, this well-known various banking services provider delivered positive earnings surprises in 3 of the last 4 quarters with an average beat of 4.9%. The long-term expected earnings growth rate for this stock is 10%.

On May 22, Center Bancorp’s board of directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of 7.5 cents per share, reflecting an increase of 36.36% compared with the dividend declared in first-quarter 2013. The increased dividend will be paid on Aug 1, 2013, to all shareholders of record as on Jul 12, 2013.

Center Bancorp reported its first-quarter results on Apr 25 with earnings per share of 30 cents, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 27 cents by 11.1% and the year-ago earnings of 25 cents by 20.0%. Robust results for the reported quarter were primarily aided by higher net interest income. Moreover, the company reflected a strong capital position and a marked improvement in credit quality.

Following first-quarter 2013 results and the dividend hike, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013 increased 2.7% to $1.14 per share over the last 60 days. For 2014, the Zacks Consensus Estimate surged 5.2% to $1.22 per share over the same time frame.

Other Stocks to Consider

Besides Center Bancorp, other Northeast banks that are worth considering include S&T Bancorp Inc. (STBA - Snapshot Report), with a  Zacks Rank #1, while Rockville Financial Inc. and Eagle Bancorp, Inc. (EGBN - Snapshot Report) carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Please login to or register to post a comment.

New to Zacks?

Start Here

Zacks Investment Research


Are you a new Zacks Member or a visitor to

Top Zacks Features

My Portfolio Tracker

Is it Time to Sell?

One of the most important steps you can take today is to set up your portfolio tracker on Once you do, you'll be notified of major events affecting your stocks and/or funds with daily email alerts.

More Zacks Resources

Zacks Rank Home - Evaluate your stocks and use the Zacks Rank to eliminate the losers and keep the winners.

Mutual Fund Rank Home - Evaluate your funds with the Mutual Fund Rank for both your personal and retirement funds.

Stock/Mutual Fund Screening - Find better stocks and mutual funds. The ones most likely to beat the market and provide a positive return.

My Portfolio - Track your Portfolio and find out where your stocks/mutual funds stack up with the Zacks Rank.

Zacks #1 Rank Top Movers for Zacks #1 Rank Top Movers

Company Symbol Price %Chg
PLANAR SYST… PLNR 4.44 +5.21%
BITAUTO HOL… BITA 81.71 +5.12%
CTPARTNERS… CTP 16.66 +4.26%
CHINA BIOLO… CBPO 47.91 +3.30%
MALLINCKROD… MNK 72.94 +2.85%