New England regional bank
People's United Financial
continues to be a favorite of Jim Cramer. In his "Mad Money" broadcast Wednesday evening, he trumpeted the investment opportunities offered by small-bank stocks, singling out People's.
Cramer's rationale? Smaller banks stand to take market share from the tottering behemoths. People's has a capitalization rate of 19.5%, triple the national average, Cramer said in a broadcast several days ago.
Shares of the bank were trading Thursday morning at $16.31, down slightly from the previous session. The stock has lost 8.3% year-to-date. Oddly enough, it spiked to its 52-week high, $21.75, in September, amid the broader banking collapse.
People's, based in Bridgeport, Conn. had assets of $20.2 billion as of Dec. 31. Last month, the company reported 77% profit growth year-over-year, earning in $26.7 million in its first quarter. Still, that missed analysts' expectations, albeit narrowly, as historically low interest rates tightened the bank's profit margins.
People's is an ambitious shop. It has said that it wants to double or even triple its assets within the next five years. To do so, it's looking to go shopping for other banks. It has about $2 billion in cash for the purpose, but its chief executive, Philip Sherringham, has urged patience to its shareholders as it prospects for acquisitions.
Copyright 2009 TheStreet.com Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.