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TheStreet Open House

10 New York Bank Stocks With Most Upside for 2012


10. Flushing Financial Corp.

Shares of Flushing Financial Corp. (FFIC) of Lake Success closed at $12.64 Friday, for a year-to-date decline of 6%, which is the best performance among this group of 10 New York bank and thrift holding companies. Based on a quarterly payout of 13 cents, the shares have a 4.11% dividend yield.

The consensus 12-month price target for the shares among analysts polled by FactSet is $14.83, implying 17% upside.

Flushing's dividend is very well supported by earnings, as the company has paid-out less than half of its operating earnings over the past five quarters. The company was included among TheStreet's 10 Bank Stocks Ready for a 2012 Dividend Boost.

The company on Sept. 28 announced a new repurchase plan, authorizing buybacks of a million common shares, after completing a previous buyback plan during the third quarter.

KBW analyst Jefferson Harralson last Thursday mentioned Flushing as a "turnaround name" that could perform well in 2012, according to an SNL Financial report, after KBW upgraded the entire sector of small and mid-cap banks to "Overweight," citing the smaller players' discounted valuations and lower regulatory concerns.

KBW analyst Matthew Clark in November reiterated his "Outperform," rating for Flushing, with a $16 price target, saying the company continued "to hold the margin steady as lower rates on earning assets are offset by lower deposit pricing, strong core deposit growth, & the modification of borrowings," and that a "potential bulk sale" of loans could "act as a positive catalyst" for the shares. Clark estimates the company will earn $1.20 a share in 2012.

The shares trade for just under book value, according to SNL, and for 10.1 times the consensus 2012 earnings estimate of $1.26 a share, among analysts polled by FactSet.

Four out of six analysts covering Flushing Financial Corp. rate the shares a buy. The remaining analysts have neutral ratings.

Interested in more on Flushing Financial Corp.? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.

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