Earnings season is here, and as usual, financial services companies kick things off. But in an era of near-zero interest rates, picking the best bank stocks to buy is more challenging than ever.
If you want to find the best bank stocks to buy for an earnings bump, you need to do some research and find names that may not grab the headlines.
These five names are all expected to show year-on-year increases in their earnings per share. And not coincidentally, all of them have an edge over the more well-known names that are all expected to suffer compared to last year.
Here are five bank stocks to buy for an earnings bump:
- Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS)
- Signature Bank (NASDAQ:SBNY)
- First Financial Bankshares (NASDAQ:FFIN)
- Chemung Financial Corp. (NASDAQ:CHMG)
- NVR (NYSE:NVR)
Bank Stocks to Buy: Goldman Sachs (GS)
Scheduled earnings date: Oct. 14
Consensus EPS forecast: $5.37
Year-ago EPS: $4.79
This year will forever be known as the year of the novel coronavirus, but for investors, it will also be remembered as the year of blank-check companies.
Special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, have been all the rage this year, with companies such as DraftKings (NASDAQ:DKNG), Virgin Galactic (NYSE:SPCE) and Nikola (NASDAQ:NKLA) becoming popular picks.
Goldman Sachs is aiming to be one of the major players. It already brought a cloud company, Vertiv (NYSE:VRT) to market via a SPAC. And it’s formed a second SPAC, GS Acquisition Holdings Corp II (NYSE:GSAH) with a $700 million initial public offering as a blank-check company for a second deal.
The company had an incredible second quarter, reporting earnings per share of $6.26 compared to analysts’ estimates of $3.13. While nobody is expecting that kind of outperformance for the third quarter, there is optimism that GS stock will show stronger earnings than a year ago.
Signature Bank (SBNY)
Scheduled earnings date: Oct. 15
Consensus EPS forecast: $2.80
Year-ago EPS: $2.75
Signature Bank is a New York-based commercial bank that operates in New York, Connecticut, North Carolina, and recently expanded into California with 61 bankers working in the Los Angeles and San Francisco markets.
Signature is betting that its business model will help its expansion succeed even during the Covid-19 pandemic. Eric Howell, Signature’s vice president of corporate and business development, told American Banker that the bank’s model for using its private banking business to generate commercial lending leads “thrives” in times such as the pandemic.
The pandemic “did not delay us at all in hiring the teams or onboarding clients — in fact, it may have helped,” Howell said.
Signature is also known for its blockchain-powered real-time payments platform, called Signet, that allows approved customers to complete real-time transactions at all hours of the day, even during bank holidays or weekends.
SBNY stock has managed to climb 5% higher since a dramatic fall this spring that affected the rest of the stock market.
First Financial Bankshares (FFIN)
Scheduled earnings date: Oct. 15
Consensus EPS forecast: 36 cents
Year-ago EPS: 32 cents
Similar to Signature, First Financial Bankshares is a regional bank with a market capitalization of less than $5 million. Headquartered in Abilene, Texas, the bank has steadily grown in the last 40 years to provide coverage of the entire state. Assets under management now top $10.3 billion.
Revenues for the third quarter are expected to be $125.95 million, which would be a 22% increase from a year ago. Earnings per share are expected to be up 12%.
Participation in the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is seen as a primary driver for earnings growth. First Financial said it funded nearly 6,500 loans valued at more than $700 million in the second quarter.
EPS for the second quarter was 38 cents per share, which beat consensus expectations by more than 46%.
FFIN stock is up more than 25% since hitting its March lows.
Chemung Financial (CHMG)
Scheduled earnings date: Oct. 16
Consensus EPS forecast: 66 cents
Year-ago EPS: 40 cents
Chemung is headquartered in Elmira, New York, and operates Chemung Canal Trust Company, a regional bank with 32 offices in 12 New York counties.
The $1.7 billion bank posted dramatically improved numbers in the second quarter, with net income of $5.8 million and earnings per share of $1.20, compared to $5 million and earnings per share of $1 in the same quarter of 2019. Analysts had expected earnings of only 42 cents per share.
Like other regional banks, Chemung participated in the Paycheck Protection Program, earning nearly $1 million in net interest income from the program in the second quarter. That helped the bank reach record net interest income of $15.6 million for the quarter.
Analysts are increasingly bullish on CMHG stock, raising their earnings estimates over the last three months by nearly 50%. The company is now expected to post full-year earnings of $3.36, which would be an increase of 5% from 2019.
Scheduled earnings date: Oct. 16
Consensus EPS forecast: $62.01
Year-ago EPS: $56.11
Diversity is the spice of life and when you’re looking for financial stocks it pays to think a little out of the box. That brings us to our final pick, Virginia-based NVR.
Technically, NVR is a home construction company with a footprint that’s primarily on the East Coast. It operates the brands Ryan Homes, NVHomes and Heartland Homes.
But it also operates a mortgage banking and title service, making it a good pick here as we look for bank stocks to buy for an earnings bump.
NVR’s stock is expensive to buy, valued at more than $4,400 per share right now. But it’s also highly profitable, with earnings expected to top more than $60 per share.
For the year, NVR stock is up more than 16% and that bullish trend should likely continue with the housing market in the U.S. up huge so far this year. Quicken Loans, a unit of Rocket Companies (NYSE:RKT), funded $120 billion in housing loans just in the first six months of the year, smashing through its full-year record, according to Forbes.
On the date of publication, Patrick Sanders did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in any of the securities mentioned in this article.
Patrick Sanders is a freelance writer and editor in Maryland, and from 2015 to 2019 was head of the investment advice section at U.S. News & World Report. Follow him on Twitter at @1patricksanders. As of this writing, he did not have a position in any of the aforementioned securities.