4-Star Stocks Poised to Pop: First Niagara

Based on the aggregated intelligence of 180,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's free investing community, regional bank First Niagara Financial Group (Nasdaq: FNFG  ) has earned a respected four-star ranking.

With that in mind, let's take a closer look at First Niagara's business and see what CAPS investors are saying about the stock right now.

First Niagara facts

Headquarters (Founded) Buffalo, N.Y. (1870)
Market Cap $3.0 billion
Industry Regional banks
Trailing-12-Month Revenue $1.1 billion
Management CEO John Koelmel (since 2006)
CFO Gregory Norwood (since 2011)
Return on Equity (Average, Past 3 Years) 4.7%
Dividend Yield 3.3%
Competitors Citizens Financial Group
M&T Bank

Sources: S&P Capital IQ and Motley Fool CAPS.

On CAPS, 91% of the 244 members who have rated First Niagara believe the stock will outperform the S&P 500 going forward.  

Just last month, one of those Fools, All-Star InvestWhatWorks, tapped the stock as a bankable opportunity:

First Niagara Financial Group is quickly becoming a regional-baking powerhouse in the Northeastern United States. ...

In 2011, HSBC was looking to divest itself of its non-core assets. Among those assets was 195-branches located in upstate-New York and Connecticut, which First Niagara agreed to acquire. This deal further expands First Niagara's presence in the US Northeast.

All of the potential-negatives are now in the past for First Niagara. Future acquisitions of the size of the HSBC-deal are very unlikely for the foreseeable future. The dividend was cut in December 2011 to a much more manageable amount. And the bank completed a stock offering; the funds from the offering being used to pay the HSBC-branch acquisition. With all those negatives now behind First Niagara, I pick First Niagara to outperform from this point forward.

Of course, despite its five-star rating, First Niagara may not be your top choice. If that's the case, we've compiled a special free report for investors called "Secure Your Future With 11 Rock-Solid Dividend Stocks," which uncovers several other juicy income opportunities. The report is 100% free, but it won't be around forever, so click here to access it now.

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Fool contributor Brian Pacampara owns no position in any of the companies mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Fool's disclosure policy always gets a perfect score.

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