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Why Is Washington Federal (WAFD) Up 3.1% Since Last Earnings Report?

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A month has gone by since the last earnings report for Washington Federal (WAFD - Free Report) . Shares have added about 3.1% in that time frame, underperforming the S&P 500.

Will the recent positive trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is Washington Federal due for a pullback? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at the most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important catalysts.

Washington Federal Q2 Earnings Miss on High Provisions

Washington Federal’s second-quarter fiscal 2020 (ended Mar 31) earnings were 49 cents per share, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 55 cents. The figure also declined 22.2% year over year.

The results reflect a decline in net interest income amid lower interest rates, significant rise in provisions and higher operating expenses. However, improving loan and deposit balances, and increase in total other income were tailwinds.

Net income was $38 million, declining 25.7% from the prior-year quarter.

Revenues & Expenses Rise

Net revenues came in at $133.9 million, up nearly 1% from the year-ago quarter. The figure marginally surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $133.2 million. 

Net interest income was $117.6 million, down 2% from the year-ago quarter. Also, net interest margin declined 5 basis points (bps) to 3.10%.

Total other income of $16.2 million increased 26.8% from the prior-year quarter. This upside was mainly driven by gain on sale of investment securities and higher deposit fee income.

Operating expenses were up 16.9% year over year to $79.4 million. Rise in all cost components led to this increase.

The company’s efficiency ratio was 59.34%, up from 51.15% recorded a year ago. A rise in efficiency ratio indicates deterioration in profitability.

At the end of the fiscal second quarter, return on average common equity was 7.43%, down from 10.20% in the comparable prior-year period. Return on average assets was 0.93%, down from 1.24% in the corresponding period of last year.

As of Mar 31, 2020, net loans receivables were $12 billion compared with $11.9 billion on Sep 30, 2019. Further, customer deposit accounts amounted to $12.1 billion, marginally up from $12 billion reported as of Sep 30, 2019.

Credit Quality Worsens

As of Mar 31, 2020, the ratio of non-performing assets to total assets was 0.24%, down 3 bps from the Sep 30, 2019 level.

However, provision for loan losses increased to $6.2 million from $0.8 million recorded a year ago. Substantially higher provisions reflect the economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Additionally, allowance for loan losses and reserve for unfunded commitments were 1.10% of gross loans outstanding, up 6 bps from the Sep 30, 2019 figure.

Share Repurchase Update

During the quarter, Washington Federal repurchased 2.4 million shares at weighted average price of $32.43 per share.

How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?

Estimates revision followed a downward path over the past two months.

VGM Scores

At this time, Washington Federal has a poor Growth Score of F, however its Momentum Score is doing a lot better with a C. Charting a somewhat similar path, the stock was allocated a grade of B on the value side, putting it in the top 40% for this investment strategy.

Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of D. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.

Outlook

Washington Federal has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). We expect an in-line return from the stock in the next few months.


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