7. Astoria Financial

Shares of Astoria Financial ( AF) of Lake Success, N.Y., closed at $9.04 Friday, returning 9% year-to-date, following a 30% decline during 2011.

The shares trade for 83% of tangible book value, according to Thomson Reuters Bank Insight, and for 14 times the consensus 2013 earnings estimate of 65 cents, among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. The consensus 2012 EPS estimate is 53 cents.

Astoria during the first quarter cut its quarterly dividend to four cents from 13 cents, as the company suffered year-over-year declines in net interest income and margin.

The company had $17.1 billion in total assets as of March 31, and reported first-quarter net income of $10.0 million, or 11 cents a share, declining from $11.8 million, or 12 cents a share, the previous quarter, and $27.4 million, or 29 cents a share, a year earlier. Astoria's first-quarter results included $3.4 million in charges -- $2.2 million, or two cents a share, after tax -- for severance related expenses as part of the company's cost-control initiative.

The first-quarter net interest margin was 2.20%, unchanged from the fourth quarter, but declining from 2.40% during the first quarter of 2011. The company's operating return on average assets (ROA) during the first quarter was a weak 0.23%, and has ranged as high as 0.6! over the past five quarters, according to Thomson Reuters Bank Insight.

KBW analyst Fred Cannon rates Astoria "Market Perform," said in April after the company reported its first-quarter results that he expected "the downward re-pricing of loans and the reinvestment of cash flows at lower rates to be the source of pressure as long as rates remain low," adding that that although "the downward pressure will be partly offset by relief in CD costs since we believe that the 1.06% cost of deposits in 1Q12 should move lower with CDs re-pricing in 2012," this will be more than offset by "rates on new multifamily loans ranging from 3.50-4.00%," which is "still well below the portfolio yield of 6.08% in 1Q12."

Cannon's $7 price target for Astoria "implies a 0.5x multiple based on our 2013 tangible book value estimate-- below the 1.3x average multiple that the peer group trades on a similar basis."

Interested in more on Astoria Financial? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.

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