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Here's Why Northern Trust (NTRS) is Worth Betting on Now

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During the first-quarter earnings season, the Finance sector turned out to be one of the best performers. Particularly, benefits from a stabilizing economy and improving interest-rate scenario have well positioned the banking industry. Moreover, lower commercial tax rate boosted banks’ profitability further.

In addition, relieving banks from some of the stringent requirements of the Dodd-Frank Act has made the companies optimistic of future earnings growth and raised investors’ sentiments as well. So, we thought of picking a stock from the sector that reflects strong fundamentals and has solid long-term growth opportunities.

Northern Trust Corporation (NTRS - Free Report) is one such stock that not only beat estimates in the March-end quarter, but has also been witnessing upward estimate revisions, reflecting analysts’ optimism about its future prospects. Over the last 60 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2019 and 2020 jumped 2.9% and 1.9%, respectively.

Furthermore, Northern Trust can be a solid bet now, backed by sturdy wealth-management operations with diversified products and services. The company’s focus on initiating new business to tackle macroeconomic headwinds, and continued addition of institutional clients and assets is anticipated to yield positive results for the stock.

Though costs escalated on ongoing investments in technology, driving compensation and equipment and software expenses for Northern Trust, management is taking steps to tackle expense growth and reinstate operating leverage. This, in turn, is anticipated to make the growth path smoother.

Additionally, shares of Northern Trust have gained 4.3% in the last six months.

With $121.9 billion in assets as of Mar 31, 2019, this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company’s strengths include stellar top-line growth, continued earnings growth and steady capital-deployment activities.

5 Reasons Why Northern Trust is an Attractive Buy  

Revenue Growth: Northern Trust’s revenues reflected compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.3%, over the last five years (2014-2018), with the increasing trend continuing in first-quarter 2019 as well. This impressive top-line growth was supported by the continued addition of new business, and institutional clients and assets, along with rising net interest income.

The company’s projected sales growth (F1/F0) of 2.35% (as against the industry average of about 2.03%) indicates constant upward momentum in revenues.

Earnings Per Share Strength: Northern Trust’s earnings per share witnessed growth of 16.3%, over the last three to five years. Notably, the company’s earnings are expected to display an upswing in the near term as the company’s projected EPS growth (F1/F0) is 2.43%. Also, it recorded an average positive earnings surprise of 4.33%, over the trailing four quarters.

Strong Leverage: Northern Trust’s debt/equity ratio is valued at 0.35, compared to the industry average of 0.91, indicating lower debt burden relative to the industry. It highlights the financial stability of the company even in an unstable economic environment.

Superior Return on Equity (ROE): Northern Trust’s ROE of 16.03%, as compared with the industry average of 12.69%, highlights the company’s commendable position over its peers. Notably, ROE has exceeded the company’s target between 10% and 15%.

Steady Capital Deployment: Northern Trust displayed its capital strength as it successfully cleared the 2018 Dodd-Frank Act Stress Test (DFAST). This January, the company raised its quarterly common stock dividend by 9%. Further, the company’s board of directors had approved a new common stock repurchase authorization of up to 25 million shares in July 2018.

Bottom Line

Organic growth remains a key strength at Northern Trust, while cost-control efforts are likely to support bottom-line growth.

Also, the ongoing investment in integrated global operating and technology platform has enabled Northern Trust to meet the rising and diversifying needs of institutional clients, which also covers a broad range of initiatives to benefit clients and future prospects in the coming years.

Stocks to Consider

First Business Financial Services, Inc. (FBIZ - Free Report) , currently flaunting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), has been witnessing upward estimate revisions, for the past 60 days. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Franklin Resources, Inc. (BEN - Free Report) has been witnessing upward estimate revisions, for the past 60 days. At present, it sports a Zacks Rank of 1.

1st Source Corporation (SRCE - Free Report) has been witnessing upward estimate revisions for the past 60 days. It currently carries a Zacks Rank #2.

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