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4 Reasons to Invest in First Bancorp (FBNC) Stock Right Now

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It seems to be a wise idea to add First Bancorp (FBNC - Free Report) stock to your portfolio now. Driven by strength in fundamentals and good earnings growth prospects, the company looks like a solid bet right now.

The stock has been witnessing upward estimate revisions, of late, reflecting analysts’ optimism regarding its earnings growth potential. Over the past 30 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for First Bancorp’s 2019 earnings has been revised nearly 1.3% upward. Thus, the stock currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

The company’s price performance also seems decent. The stock has gained 10.4% in the past six months, outperforming the industry’s growth of 8.7%.


Mentioned below are some other aspects that make First Bancorp a solid pick right now.

Earnings Growth: First Bancorp’s earnings witnessed 22.5% growth in the last three-five years, higher than the industry’s growth of 11.9%. This uptrend is expected to continue in the near term as reflected by its projected earnings per share (EPS) growth rate of 2.7% for 2019 and nearly 1% for 2020.

Moreover, its long-term (three-five years) projected EPS growth rate of 4.4% promises reward for investors.

Revenue Strength: First Bancorp’s revenues have increased at a CAGR of 11.4%, over the last six years (2013-2018). In fact, the top line is expected to continue to grow in the near term as can be seen from its projected sales growth rates of 4.5% for 2019 and 4.3% for 2020.

Valuation Looks Reasonable: First Bancorp stock looks undervalued right now, with respect to its price-to-cash flow and price-to-earnings ratios. It has a P/CF ratio of 10.49, lower than the industry average of 11.57. Additionally, the company’s P/E (F1) ratio of 11.98 is below the industry average of 12.28.

Superior Return on Equity (ROE): First Bancorp currently has an ROE of 12.04%, which is higher than the industry average of 9.98%. This indicates that the company reinvests more efficiently than its peers.

Other Key Picks

A few other top-ranked stocks in the finance space are Hilltop Holdings Inc. HTH, Legg Mason, Inc. LM and Ameriprise Financial, Inc. AMP.

Over the past 60 days, Hilltop Holdings witnessed an upward earnings estimate revision of 6.4% for the ongoing year. Its share price has increased 12.6% in the past six months. The stock currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Legg Mason also flaunts a Zacks Rank of 1. Its Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current fiscal year’s earnings has been revised 5.5% upward over the past 60 days. Its shares have surged 40.5% in the past six months.

Over the past 60 days, Ameriprise Financial’s earnings estimates for 2019 remained stable. Its share price has rallied 31.9% in the past six months. The stock currently carries a Zacks Rank #2.

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