On Jan 1, Zacks Investment Research upgraded Territorial Bancorp Inc. (TBNK - Free Report) to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
Why the Upgrade?
Territorial Bancorp has been witnessing rising earnings estimates on the back of strong third-quarter 2013 results and the company’s robust capital deployment activities. The long-term expected earnings growth rate for this stock is 4%. Further, Territorial Bancorp has now delivered positive earnings surprises in the last 4 quarters with an average beat of 13%.
In Nov 2013, Territorial Bancorp announced a special cash dividend of 10 cents per share, which was paid on Dec 23, 2013 to shareholders of record as of Dec 9, 2013.
Following the special dividend announcement, Territorial Bancorp announced a fifth stock repurchase program in Dec 2013, under which it can repurchase up to 300,000 shares.
Territorial Bancorp reported its third-quarter results on Oct 31 with earnings per share of 39 cents, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 33 cents by 18.2% and the year-ago earnings of 36 cents by 8.3%.
Robust results for the reported quarter were primarily driven by organic growth, which reflected an elevated top line along with increased loans and deposits. Yet, these positives were partially offset by augmented non-interest expenses.
Concurrent with the earnings release, Territorial Bancorp announced a 7.7% rise in its quarterly common stock cash dividend to 14 cents per share. The increased dividend was paid on Nov 27 to shareholders as of Nov 14, 2013.
For 2013, the Zacks Consensus Estimate increased 2.1% to $1.45 per share, over the last 60 days. For 2014, the Zacks Consensus Estimate advanced 2.3% to $1.33 per share over the same time period.
Other Stocks to Consider
Besides Territorial Bancorp, other Northeast banks that are worth considering include Arrow Financial Corporation , Horizon Bancorp (HBNC - Free Report) and Rockville Financial Inc. . All 3 banks carry a Zacks Rank #1.