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are soaring Tuesday morning after the regional bank swung to a profit in the second quarter on better-than-expected credit quality improvements.

The Mississippi-based bank reported its results after the bell Monday. Net income came in at $12.8 million or 15 cents per share compared with a net loss of $12.6 million or 15 cents per share in the year-ago quarter.

That was significantly ahead of expectations. Analysts were expecting 4 cents per share on revenues of $178.25 million.

Provision for credit losses for the second quarter of 2011 halved to $32.2 million from $62.4 million for the second quarter of 2010. Nonperforming loans fell from the first quarter of 2011 by $45.2 million to $379.8 million.

" We continue to have solid performance from our community banking group, our insurance group and our other lines of business,"said Aubrey Patterson, chairman and CEO. "While elevated non-performing asset levels, and costs associated with their resolution, are indeed a headwind, we made solid progress in continuing to work through those issues during the second quarter."

Most analysts rated the stock a hold post results. One analyst from Stephens rated it an outperform with a price target of $17.

Shares were climbing 12% to $14.10.

--Written by Shanthi Bharatwaj in New York

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