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On Aug 31, Zacks Investment Research upgraded Eagle Bancorp, Inc. (EGBN - Snapshot Report) to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Why the Upgrade?

Eagle Bancorp has been witnessing rising earnings estimates on the back of strong second-quarter 2013 results. Moreover, this well-known commercial and consumer banking services provider delivered positive earnings surprises in 3 of the last 4 quarters with an average beat of 9.7%. The long-term expected earnings growth rate for this stock is 12%.

Eagle Bancorp reported its second-quarter results on Jul 22 with earnings per share of 44 cents, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 42 cents by 4.8% and the year-ago earnings of 33 cents by 33.3%. Robust results for the reported quarter were primarily aided by elevated net revenue and lower provisions for loan losses, partially offset by elevated non-interest expenses.

Net revenue surged 18.6% year over year to $42 million. This upsurge reflected growth in net interest and non-interest income. Provision for credit losses substantially declined 45.5% year over year to $2.4 million.

However, on the downside, expenses increased 11.9% to $20.7 million for Eagle Bancorp, as compared with the prior-year period. Higher salaries along with elevated employee benefits primarily drove the increase.

Following second-quarter 2013 results, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013 increased 4.2% to $1.75 per share, over the last 60 days. For 2014, the Zacks Consensus Estimate advanced 6.7% to $1.91 per share over the same time period.

Other Stocks to Consider

Besides Eagle Bancorp, other Northeast banks with a Zacks Rank #1 include Signature Bank (SBNY - Snapshot Report), Metro Bancorp, Inc. and Webster Financial Corp. (WBS - Snapshot Report).

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