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3 Reasons First Niagara Financial Group Is a Better Buy After Earnings

Robert Eberhard
January 23, 2013

First Niagara Financial Group's (NASDAQ: FNFG) fourth-quarter earnings of $0.19 per share  pushed the stock down as much as 2.7% in early trading this morning. But that earnings tally is in the past. What's really important about First Niagara's release was what it says about the future, and I think savvy investors are now looking at three reasons First Niagara is now an even better buy than before.

1. Loan growth
Despite a decrease in revenue from the previous year, there were other bright spots in the company's earnings release. Originated loans grew by 9% during the quarter , aided greatly by an 11% increase  in commercial loans during the quarter, the 12th consecutive quarter of double-digit commercial loan growth. Perhaps more impressive, the company's commercial loan growth was strongest outside its New York base , with loans in Western and Eastern Pennsylvania and New England growing 12%, 28%, and 10% respectively.

This helps reinforce the company's decision to acquire