Shares of BancorpSouth (BXS) of Tupelo, Mo., closed at $13.53 Tuesday, returning 23% year-to-date, following last year's 30% decline.
The shares trade for 1.2 times tangible book value, and for 15 times the consensus 2013 EPS estimate of 93 cents. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect the company to post first-quarter EPS of 16 cents, with earnings of 70 cents a share, for all of 2012.
BancorpSouth in January closed a public offering of 10,952,381 common shares at a price of $10.50, raising $109.3 million, before expenses.The company had $13 billion in total assets as of Dec. 30. Alexopoulos's price target for BancorpSouth is $12, and he matches the consensus with a first-quarter EPS estimate of 16 cents, while estimating full-year earnings of 71 cents for 2012, followed by 2013 EPS of 92 cents. The analyst said on Wednesday that the company "ended the final quarter of 2011 on a mixed note, with a mixture of both positive and negative indicators pointing in no clear direction for 2012," and that "although progress was made on the credit front," there was "still ample wood to chop, including [a nonperforming assets] ratio that ended 2011 at 3.8%." The analyst said that "while downside risk may be abating, given a growth picture that is likely to trail peers and profitability level that is unlikely to exceed the bank's cost of capital for several years, we see fair valuation of BXS shares near tangible book value," implying significant downside for the shares. Interested in more on BancorpSouth? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.
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