2. Westamerica Bancorp
San Rafael, California-based Westamerica Bancorp (WABC) was the only bank in the list to see a slight drop in its return on assets in 2011.
The measure dropped to 1.78% from 1.95% in 2010. That still places it in the second place in the profitability rankings.The bank's fourth-quarter profit fell short of estimates, coming in at 77 cents per share. Average loans declined 4% sequentially, due to a 3% drop in legacy balances. Margins also dropped 8 basis points to 5.42%. Still RBC Capital analyst Joe Morford believes the bank's "superior profitability" and "flight to quality" status makes it an attractive long-term core holding in a challenging environment. The stock is richly valued at 15 times forward earnings per share. Three analysts rate the stock a buy or outperform, 6 a hold and one has a sell rating.
Check Out Our Best Services for Investors
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Model portfolio
- Stocks trading below $10
- Intraday trade alerts