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5 Regional Bank Earnings to Watch

3. BB&T

Shares of BB&T (BBT) of Winston-Salem, N.C. closed at $31.08 Tuesday, returning 24% year-to-date, following a 2% decline during 2011.

The shares trade for 11 times the consensus 2013 EPS estimate of $2.89.

BB&T on March 13 increased its quarterly dividend by four cents to 20 cents, and also said the Federal Reserve didn't object to the company's "plans to redeem $3.2 billion of trust preferred securities beginning in 2012 without issuing any replacement capital." The shares now have a dividend yield of 2.57%.

Also on March 13, BB&T modified its deal to acquire BankAtlantic Bancorp's (BBX) thrift subsidiary, agreeing to pay a premium of up to $316 million to acquire 78 South Florida branches, and $3.3 billion in deposits, while also agreeing to "assume BankAtlantic Bancorp's obligations with respect to its outstanding trust preferred securities, with an aggregate principal balance of approximately $285 million."

The company is scheduled to announce its first-quarter results on April 19. The consensus first-quarter EPS estimate is 56 cents, increasing from 55 cents in the fourth quarter and 32 cents during the first quarter of 2011.

During the fourth quarter, BB&T's earnings available to common shareholders of $391 million were helped by a $135 million release of loan loss reserves.

Average loans held for investment -- excluding loans covered by FDIC loss-sharing agreements -- grew 2% during the fourth quarter, to $100.7 million. Average residential mortgage loans grew 7% to $20.1 billion, and commercial and industrial loans grew by 3% to 35.2 billion.

Morgan Stanley analyst Betsy Graseck on Sunday left her price target for BB&T unchanged at $33, but raised her first-quarter EPS estimate by a penny to 60 cents, "on higher mortgage banking income."

Morgan Stanley estimates that BB&T will earn $2.70 a share for all of 2012, followed by 2013 EPS of $3.08.

Interested in more on BB&T? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.
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