Regions Financial (RF -1.40%) will release its first-quarter earnings tomorrow morning, and investors are facing a big question: Will CEO Grayson Hall and crew deliver good news? Or should investors be fretting the upcoming release?
Fear not, Fool!
Analysts are expecting the Alabama-based bank to report earnings of $0.20 per share on $1.3 billion in revenues. Should the bank meet these expectations, it would be an 82% increase from the first quarter last year, and close to what the bank experienced during the fourth quarter.
There are plenty of reasons investors should be hopeful of strong results. First and foremost would probably be the bank's performance in the latest round of Federal Reserve stress tests. The bank improved dramatically from last year's results, boosting its Tier 1 common ratio by 28%, and its stressed minimum by 31.6%.This prompted the Fed to approve the bank's request to triple its dividend, as well as repurchase $350 million in common stock.
The bank's results from last quarter should also help to make investors hopeful. While many banks experienced a decrease in net interest margin, Regions actually reported a slight increase during the fourth quarter. Furthermore, the bank saw continued asset quality improvement with a 13% reduction in nonperforming assets.
These results, combined with its performance in the stress tests, have helped the bank slightly outperform some larger banks so far this year. Similar results tomorrow morning should help to continue this trend.
The bottom line
As you can see from the chart above, Regions Financial has been fairly volatile over the short term and continues to struggle to reach $8 per share, though it has been above this mythical ceiling within the past month. Nevertheless, it still trades at close to a 30% discount to book value, making one of the more attractive options among regional banks of its size. It has been on my radar for almost a year now, and another strong quarter could prompt me to buy.