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On Apr 2, Zacks Investment Research upgraded Glacier Bancorp Inc. (GBCI - Snapshot Report) to Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Why the Upgrade?

Glacier Bancorp has been witnessing rising earnings estimates owing to the announcement of two major acquisition deals. Moreover, this regional bank has a long-term earnings growth forecast of 9.0%.

In Mar 2013, Glacier Bancorp announced an agreement to acquire Chelan, Wash. based North Cascades National Bank in a cash and stock deal, valued at $29.3 million in total. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2013.

Earlier in February, Glacier Bancorp announced the signing of a definitive agreement to acquire Wheatland, Wyo. based First State Bank. The cash and stock deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2013.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013 increased 5.3% to $1.19 per share over the last 60 days. Similarly, for 2014, over the same time frame, the Zacks Consensus Estimate moved north by 6.5% to $1.32 per share.

Moreover, Glacier Bancorp is scheduled to announce its first quarter 2013 results on Apr 18. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the quarter is 28 cents per share. The Zacks Earnings ESP (Read: Zacks Earnings ESP: A Better Method) for the company is a positive 3.57% for the first quarter. This, along with its Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), makes us confident about a positive earnings surprise call.

Other Stocks to Consider

Besides Glacier Bancorp, other regional banks such as, The Bancorp Inc. (TBBK - Snapshot Report), First Connecticut Bancorp, Inc. (FBNK - Snapshot Report) and Evans Bancorp Inc. carry a Zacks Rank #1 and are worth considering.

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