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Zions Hits New 52-Week High

Shares of Zions Bancorp. (ZION - Analyst Report) crafted a new 52-week high, touching $26.15 in the second half of the trading session on May 7, 2013. The closing price of this financial holding company represents a solid year-to-date return of 18.1%. The trading volume over the last 3 months was 2.0 million 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 year-over-year earnings growth of 44.52% for 2013.

Growth Drivers

Impressive first-quarter 2013 results – including an earnings surprise of 23.08% – and a 300% hike in its quarterly cash dividend have been the primary growth drivers.

On Apr 22, 2013, Zions reported adjusted first-quarter 2013 earnings of 49 cents per share, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 39 cents. This was also significantly ahead of the prior-quarter earnings of 21 cents. Better-than-expected results were aided by growth in fee income and a decline in operating expenses, partially offset by a fall in net interest income.

Moreover, the company has delivered positive earnings surprises in the 3 of the last 4 quarters with an average beat of 6.89%.

Estimate Revisions Show Potency

Over the last 30 days, 13 out of 19 estimates for 2013 have been revised upward, lifting the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 3.5% to $1.76 per share. For 2014, 7 out of 18 estimates moved higher over the same time frame, helping the Zacks Consensus Estimate advance 1.1% to $1.92 per share.  

Other banks that are also worth considering include CU Bancorp (CUNB - Snapshot Report), Preferred Bank (PFBC - Snapshot Report) and TriCo Bancshares (TCBK - Snapshot Report). All these carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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