BancorpSouth Shares Plunged: What You Need to Know

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Mississippi-based bank BancorpSouth (NYSE: BXS  ) dove more than 11% in intraday trading today as the bank's third-quarter earnings report disappointed investors.

So what: At $0.13, BancorpSouth's earnings per share actually came in ahead of the Wall Street estimate of $0.05. However, the bank would have missed estimates without a $9.8 million income tax benefit. Likely even more concerning to investors, though, was the deterioration of BancorpSouth's loan portfolio. Charge-offs were up slightly from last quarter and triple what they were this time last year. Non-performing assets now account for 5.2% of net loans and leases. Total non-performing assets were up 33% from last quarter and nearly 200% from last year.

Now what: BancorpSouth isn't alone. Alabama neighbor Regions Financial (NYSE: RF  ) was also slipping badly after its third-quarter results left investors wanting. While there are some glimmers of recovery in the economy, it's still tough to find them in the banking sector. As for BancorpSouth in particular, it was financially strong enough to say "no thanks" when TARP was doling out money with strings attached, but right now it's looking a bit green around the gills.

Interested in more info on BancorpSouth? Add it to your watchlist here by clicking here.

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Fool contributor Matt Koppenhefferdoes not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. You can check out what Matt is keeping an eye on by visiting his CAPS portfolio, or you can follow Matt on Twitter @KoppTheFoolor on his RSS feed. The Fool's disclosure policyassures you no Wookiees were harmed in the making of this article.


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