6. Zions Bancorporation

Shares of Zions Bancorporation ( ZION) of Salt Lake City closed at $15. 50 Friday, down 36% year-to-date. Based on the mean price target of $21.23among analysts polled by FactSet, the shares have 37% upside potential.

Zions owes $1.4 billion TARP money.

The company had $51.5 billion in total assets as of Sept. 30, and reported third-quarter earnings applicable to common shareholders of $65.2 million, or 35 cents a share, compared to a net loss of $80.5 million, or 47 cents, in the third quarter of 2010.

The earnings improvement mainly reflected a decline in the provision for loan losses to just $14.6 million in the third quarter, compared to a provision of $184.7 million a year earlier.

The company also reported other operating improvements, with net interest income increasing 4% year-over-year to $470.6 million in the third quarter, while noninterest income was up 10% year-over-year to $121 million, mainly because of a decline in derivative losses to $5.7 million in the third quarter, from $16.8 million in the third quarter of 2010.

The third-quarter net interest margin was 3.99%, improving from 3.62% a year earlier.

The third-quarter ROA was 0.84%, according to SNL Financial.

Guggenheim Securities analyst Marty Mosby has a neutral rating on the shares, with a $16.50 price target, saying after the third-quarter results were reported in late October that "there are only two significant factors that could move ZION's operating earnings meaningfully over the next year or two: lower credit-related operating expenses (+$0.40) or an eventual reduction in capital cost (+$0.60). Both could take most of 2012 and 2013 before they could be realized."

The shares trade for 9.4 times the consensus 2012 earnings estimate of $1.62 a share among analysts polled by FactSet, and for 0.8 times tangible book value, according to SNL.

Out of 24 analysts covering Zions Bancorporation, 13 rate the shares a buy, nine have neutral ratings, and one analyst recommends selling the shares.

Interested in more on Zions Bancorporation? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.

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