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10 Bank Stocks Bringing Home the Bacon (Mmm... Bacon)

5. U.S. Bancorp

Shares of U.S. Bancorp (USB) of Minneapolis closed at $25.38 last Friday, down 4% year-to-date. Based on a quarterly payout of 13 cents, the shares have a dividend yield of 1.97%.

The company has been the gold standard among the largest U.S. banks, with a five-year Average ROA (again, with the most recent "year" being the first three quarters of 2011) of 1.33%. The year-to-date ROA was 1.47% as of Sept. 30, according to SNL Financial.

U.S. Bancorp had $330.1 billion in total assets as of Sept 30, with a network of over 3,000 branches.

The company reported third-quarter net income of $1.3 billion, or 64 cents a share, improving from earnings of $1.2 billion, or 60 cents a share, in the second quarter, and $908 million, or 45 cents, in the third quarter of 2010.

Loan balances grew in various categories, with average commercial loans increasing 5% 14% year-over-year, to $46.5 billion, and residential mortgage loans growing 22% year-over-year, to an Residential mortgage growth was also strong, with a third-quarter average balance of $34 billion.

Third-quarter net interest income was $2.62 billion, increasing from $2.54 billion in the second quarter and $2.48 billion in the third quarter of 2010.

Noninterest income increased to $2.17 billion in the third quarter, from $2.15 billion the previous quarter and $2.11 billion a year earlier.

Credit expenses continued to decline, with a third-quarter provision for credit losses of $519 million, compared to $572 million in the second quarter and $995 million in the third quarter of 2010. A $360 million release of loan loss reserves directly boosted earnings.

U.S. Bancorp repurchased 13.1 million shares during the third quarter, and was authorized by its board of directors to buy back another 34.4 million shares by the end of 2011.

Guggenheim Securities analyst Marty Mosby has a buy rating on U.S. Bancorp, with a price target of $30.50, saying on Nov. 14 that the company's shares were trading at "239% of tangible book value, which compares to a historical average of 422% price to tangible book value," and that "as investors begin to change their appetite for risk," the shares "should move from minimum support levels toward our outlook for potential in 2012."

The shares trade for 9.5 times the consensus 2012 EPS estimate of $2.63, among analysts polled by FactSet, and 2.4 times tangible book value, according to SNL.

Out of 24 analysts covering U.S. Bancorp, 14 rate the shares a buy, eight have neutral ratings, and two analysts recommend investors part with the shares.

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