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Equity Bancshares (EQBK) Hits Fresh High: Is There Still Room to Run?

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Shares of Equity Bancshares (EQBK - Free Report) have been strong performers lately, with the stock up 6.6% over the past month. The stock hit a new 52-week high of $34.14 in the previous session. Equity Bancshares has gained 55.6% since the start of the year compared to the 20.1% move for the Zacks Finance sector and the 31.8% return for the Zacks Banks - Northeast industry.

What's Driving the Outperformance?

The stock has a great record of positive earnings surprises, as it hasn't missed our earnings consensus estimate in any of the last four quarters. In its last earnings report on July 19, 2021, Equity Bancshares reported EPS of $1.09 versus consensus estimate of $0.57 while it beat the consensus revenue estimate by 14.6%.

For the current fiscal year, Equity Bancshares is expected to post earnings of $3.35 per share on $171.1 million in revenues. This represents a 167.4% change in EPS on a 7.83% change in revenues. For the next fiscal year, the company is expected to earn $2.85 per share on $186.97 million in revenues. This represents a year-over-year change of -14.93% and 9.28%, respectively.

Valuation Metrics

Equity Bancshares may be at a 52-week high right now, but what might the future hold for the stock? A key aspect of this question is taking a look at valuation metrics in order to determine if the company is due for a pullback from this level.

On this front, we can look at the Zacks Style Scores, as these give investors a variety of ways to comb through stocks (beyond looking at the Zacks Rank of a security). These styles are represented by grades running from A to F in the categories of Value, Growth, and Momentum, while there is a combined VGM Score as well. Investors should consider the style scores a valuable tool that can help you to pick the most appropriate Zacks Rank stocks based on their individual investment style.

Equity Bancshares has a Value Score of B. The stock's Growth and Momentum Scores are B and C, respectively, giving the company a VGM Score of B.

In terms of its value breakdown, the stock currently trades at 10X current fiscal year EPS estimates. On a trailing cash flow basis, the stock currently trades at 3.3X versus its peer group's average of 11.7X. This isn't enough to put the company in the top echelon of all stocks we cover from a value perspective.

Zacks Rank

We also need to consider the stock's Zacks Rank, as this supersedes any trend on the style score front. Fortunately, Equity Bancshares currently has a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy) thanks to rising earnings estimates.

Since we recommend that investors select stocks carrying Zacks Rank of 1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B, it looks as if Equity Bancshares meets the list of requirements. Thus, it seems as though Equity Bancshares shares could still be poised for more gains ahead.

How Does Equity Bancshares Stack Up to the Competition?

Shares of Equity Bancshares have been soaring, and the company still appears to be a decent choice, but what about the rest of the industry? Some of its industry peers are also solid potential picks, including Byline Bancorp (BY - Free Report) , Meridian Bank (MRBK - Free Report) , and Bankwell Financial Group (BWFG - Free Report) , all of which currently have a Zacks Rank of at least #2 and a VGM Score of at least B, making them well-rounded choices.

The Zacks Industry Rank is in the top 32% of all the industries we have in our universe, so it looks like there are some nice tailwinds for Equity Bancshares, even beyond its own solid fundamental situation.

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