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5 Long-Term Bank Stock Picks From Jefferies (Update 1)

3. First Midwest Bancorp
Shares of First Midwest Bancorp (FMBI) of Itasca, Ill., closed at $11.98 Friday, returning 18% year-to-date, following a 12% decline during 2011.

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The shares trade for 12 times the consensus 2013 EPS estimate of $1.02.

Jefferies analyst Emlen Harmon on Monday raised his price target for First Midwest to $14 from $13, while lowering his 2012 EPS estimate to 70 cents from 75 cents, and lowering his 2013 estimate to $$1.10 to $1.15.

Jefferies said that "progress on credit should be the focal point of the quarter, as the company shifts into growth mode," and that although "it could take a quarter or two for growth to show meaningfully," the firm expects "total loan growth to turn positive this quarter."

The consensus among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters is for First Midwest to report first-quarter earnings of 13 cents a share, compared to five cents a share during the fourth quarter and 10 cents a share, during the first quarter of 2011.

Harmon is slightly ahead of the consensus, estimating first-quarter EPS of 14 cents.

Interested in more on first Midwest Bancorp? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.

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