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Shares of Horizon Bancorp (HBNC - Free Report) surged over 50% year to date, significantly outpacing the 35.3% gain for the Zacks categorized Northeast Banks industry.  The price reaction largely reflects the post-election euphoria and the latest Fed rate hike that has undoubtedly placed the financial stocks among the biggest winners.

With assets over $3 billion, Horizon Bancorp offers services in northern and central Indiana and southwest and central Michigan, through its commercial banking subsidiary Horizon Bank, NA. Notably, the company went for three-for-two stock split in Oct 2016.

The growth prospects of this Michigan, IN-based company seem encouraging as it continues to reflect strength in several areas and remains focused on expansion moves.  Adding the stock to your portfolio now should not disappoint.



Why is the Stock an Attractive Pick?

Balance Sheet Restructuring Looks Impressive: Last month, Horizon Bancorp announced a series of balance sheet restructuring moves which are aimed at strengthening its overall financial position, including an improvement  in net interest margin, return on average assets, and return on average equity. The moves include prepaying $106 million of high fixed-rate borrowings with contractual maturities ranging from Jun 2017 through Sep 2020, and repositioning the investment securities portfolio to replace certain lower yielding short-term investments.

Focused on Expansion Moves: Horizon Bancorp seems to be on an acquisition spree, as evident by its several moves so far this year. In June, the company acquired Kosciusko Financial, Inc., while in July it acquired LaPorte Bancorp, Inc. Further, in November, Horizon Bancorp completed the acquisition of CNB Bancorp.  The company’s growth profile remains well positioned given such strategic acquisitions that strengthened its branch network.

Committed on Enhancing Shareholders’ Value: Driven by capital strength, Horizon Bancorp also remains focused on rewarding shareholders. Notably, last week, the company announced a 10% hike in quarterly dividend to 11 cents per share. The dividend will be paid on Jan 20, 2017 to stockholders on record as of Jan 6.

Solid Estimate Revisions: Analysts' bullish sentiments reflected on the stock as the company witnessed solid estimate revisions. Over the last 60 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year increased 4.1% to $1.54 and advanced 7.3% to $1.76 for 2017. The company sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). 

Other Stocks to Consider

E*TRADE Financial Corporation (ETFC - Free Report) : Over the last 60 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year increased 2.2% to $1.83 and advanced 6.9% to $1.87 for 2017. The company boasts a Zacks Rank #1.

First Financial Corporation (THFF - Free Report) : The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2016 edged up 1.2% to $2.63 and increased 5.8% to $2.74 for 2017, over the last 60 days. The company also flaunts a Zacks Rank #1. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Meta Financial Group, Inc. (CASH - Free Report) : Over the last 60 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate inched up 11.8% for 2016 to $6.62 and 14.7% to $7.80 for 2017. The company sports a Zacks Rank #1.

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