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On Aug 21, 2013, Zacks Investment Research upgraded Middleburg Financial Corporation (MBRG - Snapshot Report) to Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Why the Upgrade?

Middleburg Financial’s impressive second-quarter 2013 results, along with its recent dividend hike primarily drove the rating upgrade.

On Aug 2, Middleburg Financial reported earnings of 29 cents per share, rising 16.0% from the prior-year quarter and beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 18 cents. Moreover, net income increased 18.3% year over year to $2.1 million. Notably, this marked the company’s best quarterly net income figure since 2006.

The boost in earnings was primarily aided by augmented loan growth, expense reduction and an improvement in credit quality on a year-over-year basis. Moreover, the company’s capital ratios remained well above the minimum regulatory requirements.

Further, on Jul 31, Middleburg Financial declared a cash dividend of 7 cents per share, up 40% from the prior-year period. The dividend will be paid on Aug 30 to stockholders of record as of Aug 16.

Going forward, with its healthy loan pipeline and growth in wealth management operations, Middleburg Financial is well positioned to capitalize on the resurgent global economy characterized by increasing overall loan demand.

During the last 30 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013 increased 22.7% to 92 cents share. For 2014, the Zacks Consensus Estimate advanced 5.7% to 92 cents per share over the same time period.

Other Stocks to Consider

Apart from Middleburg Financial Corporation, other banks worth considering include Farmers Capital Bank Corporation (FFKT - Snapshot Report), First M&F Corporation and Pinnacle Financial Partners Inc. (PNFP - Snapshot Report). All these stocks carry a Zacks Rank #1.

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