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4 Reasons that Make Hancock (HBHC) an Attractive Pick Now

The rising rate environment and approval of the Financial Choice Act have renewed optimism regarding performance of banks. Hence, this is the right time to bet on banking stocks. Among others, Hancock Holding Company HBHC might see a decent upside based on its underlying strength.

Hancock’s shares have gained 14.4% over the last one year compared to the Zacks categorized Banks - Southeast industry’s marginal loss.

The company witnessed an upward trend in earnings estimate revisions for 2018 over the last 30 days. As a result, the stock currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Key Driving Factors

Earnings Per Share (EPS) Growth: Hancock witnessed EPS growth of 41.7% in the last three to five years compared with 11.5% for the broader industry.

Also, the company’s estimated EPS growth rate of 40% for 2017 compares with 9.3% for the industry.

Revenue Growth: Hancock continues to make steady progress toward improving its top line, with sales recording a three-year (2014–2016) compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.1%.

Further, its projected sales growth (F1/F0) of 16.2% compares favorably with the industry average of 2.1%.

Prudent Expenses Management: Hancock’s efforts to streamline its business have led to a decline in operating expenses at a CAGR of 3.4% in the last five years (ended 2016). Further, management believes feels that the upgradation of online banking by mid-2017 will lower the expenses.

Strong Leverage: Hancock’s debt/equity ratio is 0.19 compared with the industry average of 0.31. The relatively strong financial health of the company should help it perform better than its peers under a dynamic business environment.

Other Stocks to Consider

Some other stocks worth considering in the same space include Capstar Financial Holdings, Inc. CSTR, Hilltop Holdings Inc. HTH and Live Oak Bancshares, Inc. LOB. All these stocks hold a Zacks Rank #2. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Capstar Financial has witnessed a 1.4% upward revision in the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year, in the past 60 days. Also, its shares have rallied 10.8% over the last year.

Hilltop Holdings’ earnings estimates have been revised upward nearly 1% for the current year, in the past 60 days. Also, over the last year, its shares have gained 24.9%.

Live Oak has witnessed a 4.2% upward revision in the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year, in the past 60 days. Also, its shares have jumped 76.5%, over the last year.

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With battery prices plummeting and charging stations set to multiply, one company stands out as the #1 stock to buy according to Zacks research.

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Hancock Holding Company (HBHC): Free Stock Analysis Report
Live Oak Bancshares, Inc. (LOB): Free Stock Analysis Report
Hilltop Holdings Inc. (HTH): Free Stock Analysis Report
Capstar Financial Holdings Inc. (CSTR): Free Stock Analysis Report
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