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Why Boston Private Financial Hldg. Inc. Shares Jumped

By Sean Williams - Jan 16, 2014 at 10:22PM

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Boston Private Financial popped after delivering better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings with a nice surprise for its shareholders to boot.

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 Boston Private Financial Holdings (BPFH), a private banking, investment management, and wealth advisory firm that caters primarily to New England, Southern California, and the Pacific Northwest, rose as much as 17% after reporting its fourth-quarter earnings results after the closing bell yesterday.

So what: According to Boston Private Financial's report, the company delivered a 3% increase in sequential quarterly deposit growth and 5% year-over-year deposit growth as fees from its wealth management business grew by 10% from the sequential quarter. Overall, adjusted EPS for the fourth quarter came in at $0.20, $0.01 higher than Wall Street had anticipated, but were still down 10% from the sequential third quarter when it earned $0.22. In addition to boosting deposits and total assets under management, Boston Private Financial also raised its dividend by one penny to $0.08, pushing its yield to 2.5% as of this writing.

Now what: All told this was another solid quarter for Boston Private Financial with organic loan and assets under management growth. To boot, shareholders also were privy to a dividend increase. But Boston Private Financial is also getting near the magic mark of two times book value that often stops most banking institutions in their tracks. Based on its current price and its year-end book value of $7.34, the company may have little upside left before skeptics return. Personally, even with the company at a reasonable 15 times forward earnings, that gives me enough pause to stick to the sidelines and wait for a sizable pullback before considering its shares a bargain.

Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.

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