NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Heading into what is expected to be a rather depressing third-quarter earnings season for the nation's largest banks, long-term investors should take a hard look at FirstMerit (FMER) of Akron, Ohio.
JPMorgan Chase analyst Steven Alexopoulos on Tuesday reiterated his "overweight" rating for the fast-growing regional lender, while increasing his price target for the shares by 50 cents to $25, representing potential upside of 15% from Monday's closing price of $21.74 a share.
FirstMerit's shares trade for 13.9 times the consensus 2014 earnings estimate of $1.56 a share, among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. That's a much lower forward price-to-earnings ratio than some other fast-growing medium-sized banks, including Signature Bank (SBNY), which has been growing its sales staff and was covered recently as part of TheStreet's 5 Lean and Mean Bank Stocks.
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