7 Surprise Mid-Cap Bank Picks for the Fourth Quarter: Morgan Stanley

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- With small and mid-cap banks outperforming in 2011, investors will be closely watching their fourth quarter earnings to see if the rally will continue.

On Thursday, Morgan Stanley analysts released their predictions of which mid-cap banks were likely to beat and miss consensus.

The analysts believe that Fifth Third Bancorp ( FITB) could beat consensus by 5.6% or 2 cents on higher reserve releases. City National Corp ( CYN) could positively surprise by about 4% as the Street might be underestimating the bank's improvement in pre-tax pre-provision income, according to Morgan Stanley.

On the flip side, TCF Financial ( TCB) and Popular ( BPOP) could disappoint. TCF might miss by 13% due to higher than expected acquisition-related costs and provision expenses while Popular could miss by a substantial 40% as it might suffer higher credit costs . Still Morgan Stanley remains positive on both stocks and recommends building positions "after the results."

The analysts also are positive on Zions Bancorp ( ZION), Comerica ( CMA) and First Horizon ( FHN) due to expectations for EPS beats.

>>To see these stocks in action, visit the 7 Surprise Mid-Cap Bank Picks portfolio on Stockpickr.

--Written by Shanthi Bharatwaj in New York

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