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Analyst Blog

Shares of Capital One Financial Corp. (COF - Analyst Report) achieved a new 52-week high, touching $73.00 in the first hour of the trading session on Dec 2, 2013. Nevertheless, the stock closed the session at $72.10, registering a solid year-to-date return of 19.5%. The trading volume for the session was 3.9 million shares, up from the 3-month average of 2.9 million.

Despite the strong price appreciation, this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock has plenty of upside left, given the estimate revisions over the last 60 days and long-term earnings growth rate of 7.8%.

Growth Drivers

Impressive third-quarter 2013 results, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 6.2%, along with improvement in profitability ratios were the primary growth drivers for Capital One.

On Oct 18, Capital One reported third-quarter results. The company’s earnings of $1.86 per share outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.77. The quarter witnessed higher-than-expected revenues and improved profitability ratios. However, higher expenses and deteriorating capital ratios were dampeners. Meanwhile, asset quality was a mixed bag.

Further, in Sep 2013, Capital One completed the sale of certain private label and co-branded credit card accounts worth $6 billion to Citigroup, Inc. (C - Analyst Report). Hence, with the closure of the deal, the company resumed its $1 billion share repurchase program.

Estimate Revisions

Over the last 60 days, 15 out of 16 estimates for 2013 have been revised upward, lifting the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 3.4% to $7.05 per share. For 2014, 11 of 17 estimates moved north over the same time frame, causing the Zacks Consensus Estimate to rise 1.8% to $6.92 per share.

Other players in the finance industry that presently look attractive include Affiliated Managers Group Inc. (AMG - Analyst Report) and Evercore Partners Inc. (EVR - Snapshot Report). Both these stocks carry the same Zacks Rank as Capital One.