3. United Bankshares
United Bankshares (UBSI) of Charleston, W.V., has seen its stock decline 12% over the past year, closing at $22.82 Friday. Based on a quarterly payout of 30 cents, the shares have a dividend yield of 5.26%.
The company had $7.2 billion in total assets as of March 31, with 111 branches in West Virginia, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Maryland and Ohio.United Bankshares agreed in December to acquire Centra Financial Holdings of Morgantown, W.V., in an exchange of shares valued at $187 million. Centra Financial has about $1.3 billion in total assets, with 15 branches in West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. The deal is expected to be completed early in the third quarter. First-quarter net income was $17.9 million, or 41 cents a share, increasing from $17.4 million, or 40 cents a share in the first quarter of 2010. The company's first-quarter ROA was 1.01% according to SNL. The dividend payout ratio for the first quarter was 73%, and the payout ratio has ranged between 68% and 75% over the past five quarters. Following the first-quarter earnings announcement, Kenneth James of Sterne Agee reiterated his neutral rating on United Bankshares, saying the company had achieved "solid performance," and that its long-term aspects were favorable "given a disciplined acquisition strategy combined with the ongoing franchise shift into more attractive northern VA/D.C." The analyst's neutral rating reflects a valuation that is at a premium to peers and limited upside potential over the next year. James said his firm views "the shares as suitable for long-term investors with an equity-income focus, but would prefer a more attractive entry point." Considering that the shares have pulled back 12% from the closing price of $25.86 on April 27 when the Sterne Agee report was published, we may be at the "more attractive entry point." The consensus among analysts is for the company to earn $1.63 a share in 2011. The shares trade for 13 times the consensus 2012 earnings estimate of $1.84 a share. All nine analysts covering United Bankshares have neutral ratings on the stock.
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