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Analyst Blog

Shares of BancorpSouth, Inc. (BXS - Analyst Report) crafted a new 52-week high, touching $20.56 at the beginning of the trading session on Aug 16. The closing price of this commercial banking and financial services provider represents a solid year-to-date return of 35.1%. The trading volume for the session was 646,247 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 30 days and expected long-term earnings growth of 6.0%.

Growth Drivers

Impressive second-quarter 2013 results – including a positive earnings surprise of 10% and significant improvement in the credit quality – as well as a strong capital position were the primary growth drivers for BancorpSouth.

On Jul 23, BancorpSouth reported its second-quarter 2013 net income of 22 cents per share, outpacing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 10%. However, results were in line with the prior-year quarter earnings.

A year-over-year increase of 14.4% in non-interest revenue and a rise in deposits and loans were the tailwinds for the quarter. Moreover, the company’s capital ratios depict its strong position. However, a 6.2% fall in net interest revenue and an escalation of 4.2% in non-interest expenses acted as headwinds for the quarter.

Further, BancorpSouth has now delivered positive earnings surprises in 3 of the last 4 quarters with an average beat of 0.85%.

Estimate Revisions Show Potency

Over the last 30 days, 8 out of 10 estimates for 2013 have been revised upward for BancorpSouth, lifting the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 8.8% to 99 cents per share. For 2014, all the 10 estimates moved north, helping the Zacks Consensus Estimate advance 9.3% to $1.17 per share.

Some better performing Southwest banks include Farmers Capital Bank Corporation (FFKT - Snapshot Report), Home Bancshares, Inc. (Conway, AR) (HOMB - Snapshot Report) and First M&F Corporation . All 3 companies carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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