8. Itau Unibanco Holding (ITUB) is one of the largest private banks in Brazil.
During the first quarter, Itau's buoyant credit growth boosted net income to $2.25 billion, up 9.3% year-over-year. However, profits declined as provisions grew 15% compared to the same period last year.
Total loans expanded 22%, higher than the Brazilian central bank's mandated range of 10% to 15% through March. Nevertheless, credit growth could be slower on interest rate hikes and the central bank's monetary curbs.Non-performing loans were flat quarter-on-quarter at 4.2% nevertheless, some deterioration was observed from smaller companies during the quarter. The bank's return on equity stood at around 22.7%. The stock is trading at 11 times its estimated 2011 earnings with an upside potential of 33% in the next one year. Of the 12 analysts covering the stock, 10 rate it a buy, as per a Bloomberg consensus.
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