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Here's Why Hancock Whitney (HWC) Stock is Worth Buying Now

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It seems wise to include Hancock Whitney Corporation HWC stock to your portfolio now, given its sound liquidity position, continued growth in loan and deposit balances, and initiatives to boost revenues. Also, the bank’s inorganic growth strategy and sustainable capital-deployment activities might continue to support profitability.

Over the past 30 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate has moved 1.6% upward for 2021 and remained stable for 2022. The stock currently flaunts a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Hancock Whitney’s price performance also looks encouraging. Its shares have surged 91.5% in the past six months, outperforming the industry’s growth of 63.5%.

What Makes Hancock Whitney Stock a Solid Pick

Earnings Strength: Hancock Whitney’s earnings have grown at the rate of 27.2% over the past three to five years. With the company’s continued strategic investments in growth markets, this momentum is likely to continue in the near term.

The bank’s earnings are expected to grow significantly in 2021. Further, the long-term estimated earnings growth rate of 8% assures future remuneration for shareholders.

Revenue Growth: Supported by rising loan balances and various strategic initiatives to boost core revenues, Hancock Whitney’s net revenues (on tax equivalent basis) witnessed a CAGR of 7.9% over the past six years (2015-2020). Strategic investments in growth markets are anticipated to be accretive to earnings and will fortify the bank’s presence in such areas.

Though the company’s projected sales growth for 2021 might decline due to the pandemic-related slowdown, its estimates sales growth rate of 0.2% for 2022 indicates continued top-line growth in the days to come.

Improvement in Asset Quality: Hancock Whitney has remarkably abated its exposure to the energy sector. As of Dec 31, 2020, its energy exposure was less than 2% of the bank’s total loan portfolio. Thus, management’s efforts to improve credit quality keep us optimistic of its growth prospects.

Strong Leverage: Hancock Whitney’s debt/equity ratio is 0.11 as compared with the industry average of 0.22. The company’s sound financial health will help it deliver better than its peers amid an uncertain business environment.

Stock Looks Undervalued: Hancock Whitney looks undervalued when compared with the broader industry. Its current price/earnings (F1) and price/book ratios are below the respective industry averages.

The stock currently has a Value Score of B. The Value Score condenses all valuation metrics into one actionable score that helps investors steer clear of “value traps” and identify stocks that are truly trading at a discount. Our research shows that stocks with a Style Score of A or B, when combined with a Zacks Rank #1 or 2 (Buy), offer the best upside potential.

Other Stocks Worth Considering

Some other top-ranked stocks in the same space include Eagle Bancorp, Inc. (EGBN - Free Report) , Summit Financial Group, Inc. (SMMF - Free Report) and United Bancshares, Inc. (UBSI - Free Report) . All three stocks currently sport a Zacks Rank #1. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Eagle Bancorp has witnessed a 14.8% upward revision in the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2021 earnings, over the past 30 days. Its shares have gained 24.5% over the past three months.

Summit Financial has recorded a 24.1% upward revision in the Zacks Consensus Estimate for ongoing-year earnings in the past 30 days. Shares of the company have rallied 2.37%, in three months’ time.

In the past 60 days, the consensus mark for United Bancshares’s current-year earnings has moved 9.6% north. Over the past three months, its shares have appreciated 23.1%.

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