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Shares of Regions Financial Corporation (RF - Analyst Report) crafted a new 52-week high, touching $9.34 in the beginning of the trading session on May 22. The closing price of this financial services provider represents a solid year-to-date return of 23.6%. The trading volume for the session was 16.3 million shares, substantially higher than the average 14.6 million over the last 3 months.

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 10.0% for 2013.

Growth Drivers

Impressive first-quarter 2013 results – including an earnings surprise of 15.0% and reduced provision for loan losses – as well as approval of the capital plan under the 2013 Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR) were the primary growth drivers for Regions.

On Apr 23, Regions reported its first-quarter earnings from continuing operations of 23 cents per share, marginally beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 3 cents. Moreover, results beat the prior-quarter earnings by a penny.

Results benefited from a fall in non-interest expenses, reflecting effective cost control measures. Moreover, fall in provision for loan losses, strong capital position, improved funding mix and HARP II loan production were the tailwinds for the quarter.

Moreover, Regions has now delivered positive earnings surprises in the last 4 quarters with an average beat of 19.5%.

Estimate Revisions Show Potency

Over the last 30 days, 12 of the 17 estimates for 2013 have been revised upward for Regions, lifting the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 6.2% to 86 cents per share. For 2013, 6 of the 16 estimates moved north, helping the Zacks Consensus Estimate advance 3.5% to 88 cents per share.   

Some better performing Southeast banks include Ameris Bancorp (ABCB - Snapshot Report), Farmers Capital Bank Corporation (FFKT - Snapshot Report) and First M&F Corporation . All these carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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