Thursday, February 27, 2014

What's Happening With Glacier Bancorp?

Our To Invest in a Bank post from last October has caught fire. It will easily lead our blog in February page views.

In that post, we wrote about one of our Steady Eddie stock picks. Glacier Bancorp (GBCI) is located up the Flathead valley in Kalispell, Montana. Glacier stock had just hit an all time high of $27.82 per share. It continued to rise. I said the market was acting like it expected another increase in Glacier's dividend when the snows came. Sure enough, Glacier announced a dividend increase on November 26, helping to drive the stock to new all-time high closes, peaking at $30.87 on December 23, 2013.

However, the last week of  January and the first week of February were tough on Glacier, dropping its stock price as low as $25.30 a share on February 4.  Part of the drop was a market hit. Glacier tracked the regional bank index down.

2014 YTD stock prices, GBCI redline and KRE (regional banking index) blue line.

But Glacier dropped more than the regional bank stock market overall largely because GBCI's fourth (calendar) quarter earnings were a meet (says Yahoo) or a miss (says Ticker Report). Glacier's three previous quarterly earnings were a beat, which helped to push Glacier's stock price up much faster than the market in 2013. In the weird world of Wall Street, just meeting earnings expectations often drives stock prices down. Further, a director of of the corporation sold about a third of his large stake in the bank in early February, shaking investor confidence.

Earnings per Share in Cents
Glacier Bancorp
Quarters Ending In

Earnings HistoryMar 2013Jun 2013Sep 2013Dec 2013
EPS Est0.280.300.330.36
EPS Actual0.290.310.350.36
Surprise %3.60%3.30%6.10%0.00%
Source: Yahoo Finance

Yesterday, Glacier was updated from a neutral to a buy rating by analysts at one of the firms that tracks the bank.
Glacier Bancorp (NASDAQ:GBCI) was upgraded by stock analysts at DA Davidson from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating in a report issued on Wednesday, StockRatingsNetwork reports. The firm currently has a $33.00 price target on the stock, up from their previous price target of $31.00. DA Davidson’s target price points to a potential upside of 25.62% from the company’s current price.
The buy recommendation popped Glacier's stock price on February 26th by $0.98, or 3.7 percent, back to $27.25 a share, which means the stock ticked back to recover some of the of the distance it had recently lost to the regional bank index. So it goes.

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