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Washington Federal Inc.

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Shares of Washington Federal have underperformed the industry over the past six months. Yet, the company has an impressive earnings surprise history, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the trailing four quarters. Its fourth-quarter fiscal 2018 results (ended Sep 30) reflect higher net interest income and improving asset quality. The company is well positioned to benefit from growth in loans, a rising rate scenario and improving credit quality. Also, lower tax rates and easing of stringent regulations will support its financials. However, mounting expense levels mainly due to higher compensation costs and information technology expenses are a major near-term concern and might hurt bottom-line growth. Further, its exposure to risky loan portfolios might hamper financials, going forward.

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