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On Jul 11, Zacks Investment Research upgraded Fox Chase Bancorp, Inc. (FXCB - Snapshot Report) to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Why the Upgrade?

Fox Chase Bancorp has been witnessing rising earnings estimates following the announcement of strong first-quarter 2013 results. Moreover, this regional bank delivered positive earnings surprises in 3 of the last 4 quarters with an average beat of 25.9%.

Further, Fox Chase Bancorp is scheduled to announce second-quarter results on Jul 18.  The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the quarter is pegged at 11 cents per share. Moreover, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013 advanced 7.0% to 46 cents over the last 90 days. Over the same time period, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2014 moved up by a penny to 42 cents per share.

Fox Chase Bancorp reported first-quarter 2013 results on Apr 24. Earnings per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a nickel and the year-ago earnings by 60%. Results benefited from higher fee income, partially offset by a rise in expenses and a drop in net interest income. Additionally, Fox Chase Bancorp saw strong capital and profitability ratios.

Moreover, asset quality during the quarter witnessed improvement. Provision for loan losses declined 50% year over year to $0.6 million. Further, ratio of allowance for loan losses was 1.68% of total loans, down 4 basis points from the prior-year quarter.

Other Stocks to Consider

While we prefer Fox Chase Bancorp, other banks carrying a Zacks Rank #1 include Pacific Continental Corp. (PCBK - Snapshot Report), Banner Corporation (BANR - Snapshot Report) and First Interstate Bancsystem Inc. (FIBK - Snapshot Report).

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