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10 First Quarter Bank Stock Winners

7. Pinnacle Financial Partners

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Shares of Pinnacle Financial Partners (PNFP) of Nashville, Tenn., closed at 16.54 Thursday, returning 22% during the first quarter.

The company owes $95 million in TARP money. The Nashville Business Journal reported on March 10 that Pinnacle was considering enrolling in the small business lending fund created by Congress in 2010, which would be less restrictive than retaining the TARP funding.

On February 28, Sterne Agee analyst Peyton Green reiterated his buy rating for Pinnacle Financial, saying that "continued margin expansion and improved credit quality should result in PNFP posting positive surprises in 2011.

The company is scheduled to announce its first-quarter results on April 18, and the consensus estimate is for earnings of 3 cents a share for the quarter, 32 cents a share for 2011 and 84 cents a share for 2012.

Out of 13 analysts covering Pinnacle Financial Partners, three rate the shares a buy, nine have neutral ratings and one analyst recommends selling the shares.

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