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HWC vs. FBNC: Which Stock Should Value Investors Buy Now?

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Investors interested in Banks - Southeast stocks are likely familiar with Hancock Whitney (HWC - Free Report) and First Bancorp (FBNC - Free Report) . But which of these two stocks presents investors with the better value opportunity right now? Let's take a closer look.

We have found that the best way to discover great value opportunities is to pair a strong Zacks Rank with a great grade in the Value category of our Style Scores system. The proven Zacks Rank puts an emphasis on earnings estimates and estimate revisions, while our Style Scores work to identify stocks with specific traits.

Hancock Whitney and First Bancorp are sporting Zacks Ranks of #1 (Strong Buy) and #3 (Hold), respectively, right now. Investors should feel comfortable knowing that HWC likely has seen a stronger improvement to its earnings outlook than FBNC has recently. But this is only part of the picture for value investors.

Value investors are also interested in a number of tried-and-true valuation metrics that help show when a company is undervalued at its current share price levels.

Our Value category grades stocks based on a number of key metrics, including the tried-and-true P/E ratio, the P/S ratio, earnings yield, and cash flow per share, as well as a variety of other fundamentals that value investors frequently use.

HWC currently has a forward P/E ratio of 10.43, while FBNC has a forward P/E of 14.44. We also note that HWC has a PEG ratio of 1.30. This metric is used similarly to the famous P/E ratio, but the PEG ratio also takes into account the stock's expected earnings growth rate. FBNC currently has a PEG ratio of 5.35.

Another notable valuation metric for HWC is its P/B ratio of 0.96. The P/B ratio is used to compare a stock's market value with its book value, which is defined as total assets minus total liabilities. For comparison, FBNC has a P/B of 1.20.

These are just a few of the metrics contributing to HWC's Value grade of B and FBNC's Value grade of C.

HWC sticks out from FBNC in both our Zacks Rank and Style Scores models, so value investors will likely feel that HWC is the better option right now.

In-Depth Zacks Research for the Tickers Above

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Hancock Whitney Corporation (HWC) - free report >>

First Bancorp (FBNC) - free report >>

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