Regional Bank Stocks Reach Highs

Huntington Bancshares, PNC Financial Services, Cullen/Frost Bankers, Fifth Third Bancorp and BB&T hit 52-week highs Wednesday.
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BOSTON (TheStreet) -- Bank stocks soared Tuesday on strong earnings reports. Huntington Bancshares' (HBAN) - Get Report first-quarter profit exceeded analysts' estimates by 74% and SunTrust (STI) - Get Report beat expectations by 20%. These stocks hit 52-week highs.

3. Cullen/Frost Bankers

(CFR) - Get Report

rose 1.4% to $58.62, hitting a high of $58.80. Shares of the Texas bank have gained 4.6% during the past month. Its first-quarter results are due next Wednesday.

Quarter

: Fourth-quarter profit declined 2.8% to $51 million, or 86 cents a share, as revenue inched up 2.5% to $243 million. The operating margin narrowed from 42% to 40%. Cullen/Frost has $1.7 billion of cash and $875 million of debt.

Stock

: Cullen/Frost has advanced 20% during the past year, lagging behind U.S. indices. It trades at a price-to-projected-earnings ratio of 15 and a price-to-cash-flow ratio of 13, 16% and 14% discounts to peer averages. It's expensive based on sales.

Consensus

: Of analysts covering Cullen/Frost, three advise purchasing its shares, 12 recommend holding and one suggests selling them.

Cantor Fitzgerald

expects the stock to advance 8% to $63.

JPMorgan Chase

(JPM) - Get Report

predicts it will hit $60.

2. Fifth Third Bancorp

(FITB) - Get Report

climbed 2.4% to $15.15, achieving a high of $15.95. The shares have risen 14% during the past month. Quarterly results are out tomorrow.

Quarter

: Fifth Third's fourth-quarter loss narrowed to $98 million, or 20 cents, from $2.1 billion, or $3.78, a year earlier. Revenue fell 14%. The operating margin climbed into positive territory. Fifth Third has $5.7 billion of cash and $13 billion of debt.

Stock

: Fifth Third has nearly quadrupled during the past year, outpacing benchmarks. It sells for a price-to-book ratio of 0.9 and a price-to-cash-flow ratio of 3.1, 41% and 79% discounts to industry averages. It's also cheap based on projected earnings.

Consensus

: Of researchers following Fifth Third, seven, or 27%, rate its stock "buy", 15 rate it "hold" and four rate it "sell."

Credit Suisse

(CS) - Get Report

expects the stock to gain 12% to $17.

Raymond James

(RJF) - Get Report

predicts that it will hit $16.

1. BB&T

(BBT) - Get Report

rose 1.6% to $35.11, hitting a high of $35.40. The shares have returned 10% during the past month. BB&T is scheduled to report quarterly results tomorrow.

Quarter

: Fourth-quarter profit tumbled 39% to $185 million, or 27 cents, as revenue decreased 10% to $2.8 billion. The operating margin declined from 24% to 23%. BB&T has $2.9 billion of cash and $29 billion of debt, equaling a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.8.

Stock

: BB&T has increased 59% during the past year, beating U.S. indices. It trades at a price-to-projected-earnings ratio of 14, a 21% discount to its peer average. It's fairly valued based on book value and expensive based on sales.

Consensus

: Of firms rating BB&T, 10, or 29%, advocate purchasing its shares, 21 recommend holding and four say to sell.

Sanford Bernstein

expects the stock to rise 14% to $40.

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

predicts it will climb 3% to $36.

View Stockpickr's Daily 52-Week Highs Portfolio

-- Reported by Jake Lynch in Boston.