Analysts Views Mixed on Astoria Financial Corp (AF)

Several analysts have recently weighed in on Astoria Financial Corp (NYSE:AF), issuing notes to investors. Matthew J. Keating of Barclays reiterated their Neutral on the stock 3 month ago with a $15.00 price target, or 5% Upside to the last closing price.

“Astoria Financial’s 2Q15 core EPS result (excluding a tax benefit of $0.11) exceeded the consensus forecast thanks to greater fee income and another provision credit. However, loan growth was again challenged, as its average and period-end loan balances fell by 2% and 3% linked quarter, respectively. It was disappointed by its lack of loan growth and hopes that moderating levels of prepayment activity will lead to stronger growth in 2H15. It still forecasts a 2015 NIM (a 1H15 average of 2.35%) that is relatively flat compared to 2014 (2.32%).”

Matthew B. Kelley of Piper Jaffray also released a note to investors on 23 July reiterating the firms Hold stance on Blackberry.

“Astoria reported 2Q earnings of $0.29 per share. Backing out a non-recurring tax benefit, core earnings were $0.18 p/s, or $0.02 ahead of our estimate. The beat was due primarily to a lower loan loss provision than expected as the loan book declined by 3% sequentially as prepayments spiked in the MF/CRE portfolio. We were disappointed to not get a more positive update on share buybacks, but still think the company will buy shares in the second half of the year. We do not see any significant changes to the fundamental outlook for the company and view the risk/reward as positive with the shares trading near tangible book value.”

Matthew also added, “We were pleased to see the second quarter net interest margin come in slightly ahead of our estimate (1 bp). Looking ahead, the margin should be stable as the company grows the higher yielding CRE/MF loan book and single family loans continue to decline. On the funding side of the balance sheet, CDs continue to run down. This mix shift trend should remain in place for 2015 and 2016.”

Another analyst Travis Lan at Keefe, Bruyette& Wood issued a note with $14.00 price target, or 0.8% Downside to the last closing price.

“Our $14.00 target price assumes a 25% weighting on forward P/E ($11.50) a 50% weighting on ROA-based price-to-tangible book ($13.40), and a 25% weighting on franchise value ($17.50).”

Astoria Financial Corp (NYSE:AF), is the holding company for Astoria Bank. Established in 1888, Astoria Bank, with deposits in New York totaling $9.2 billion, is the second largest thrift depository in New York and provides its retail and business customers and local communities it serves with quality financial products and services through 87 convenient banking branch locations, a business banking office in Manhattan, and multiple delivery channels, including its flexible mobile banking app. Astoria Bank commands a significant deposit market share in the attractive Long Island market, which includes Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk counties with a population exceeding that of 38 individual states.

On Oct. 8, 2015 Astoria Financial Corp (NYSE:AF), the second largest community bank headquartered in New York, announced it has finalized an agreement to open a new full-service branch in Long Island City, Queens, NY. With renovations already underway at the 26-26 Jackson Ave. location, the branch – Astoria’s 88th – is set to open before the end of the year.”Long Island City presents a strong growth opportunity for Astoria Bank as we look to continue to expand our business and consumer banking portfolios,” said Astoria Bank President and CEO Monte Redman. “Recent surges in business and residential development have helped to turn this once heavily industrial area of Queens into a diverse and vibrant neighborhood and we look forward to satisfying the community’s growing financial needs.”

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