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10 Bank Stocks With Up to 55% Upside

5. Park Sterling Corp.

Shares of Park Sterling Corp. (PSTB) of Charlotte, N.C., closed at $4.99 Friday, down 19% year-to-date. Based on the mean target price of $6.92, the shares have 39% upside potential.

The company had $628 million in total assets as of March 31, and is in the midst of a major expansion, after raising $150 million in common equity last August

On March 31, the company announced an agreement to acquire Community Capital Corp. (CPBK) of Greenwood, S.C., for $32.4 million in cash and stock. Community Capital had $649 million in total assets as of March 31, with 18 branches located throughout South Carolina. The merger is expected to be completed during the third quarter.

Park Sterling's CEO James Cherry said when the deal was announced that the combined company would "work together to build an $8 to $10 billion community banking franchise in the Carolinas and Virginia."

Park Sterling posted a first-quarter net loss of $2.9 million, or 10 cents a share, compared to net income of $1578 thousand, or 3 cents a share, a year earlier. Earnings continued to drag as the company worked through its problem loans. The first-quarter provision for loan losses was $4.5 million, rising from $1.5 million in the first quarter of 2010, but declining from a peak of $8.2 million in the fourth quarter.

The consensus among analysts polled by FactSet is for Park Sterling to post a net loss of 30 cents a share for all of 2011, followed by a loss of 7 cents a share in 2012.

All three analysts covering Park Sterling Corp. rate the shares a buy.
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