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They say that good things come in small packages. In the case of regional banks, they offer some of the best deals out there for investors.
National Bankshares(NKSH - Get Report) is a $174 million market cap bank operating in the Mid-Atlantic region. Its shares are very thinly traded, with an average of 11,000 shares trading hands on a daily basis over the last three months -- but they are worth the effort it takes to get your hands on them.
National Bankshares is profitable, and its shares trade for just 1.28 times book value. In addition, the bank pays out a very healthy dividend of 3.9% to shareholders. The high yield on the stock is a direct result of shares' dropping by about 20% in value so far this year. At the same time, the bank continues to payout profits at a constant rate.
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Earnings performance has been steady over the last year. National Bankshares has met or beaten analyst estimates in three of the last four quarters. In 2010 the bank made a record profit of $2.25 per share, representing an 8% increase over 2009 results. For 2011, profits are expected to grow 4% to $2.35 per share. Given that the economy is doing better than most believe, the estimate for 2011 is likely to be on the low side.
The attraction here for investors is that strong dividend, a low price relative to book value and slow and steady profit growth. That's not a bad combination in an uncertain market.