Reports Q4 book value per share $17.84. "We are proud of the efforts put forth by our entire banking team this past year - the Bank's success is largely the result of their passion, energy and grit!" exclaimed Kevin McPhaill, President and CEO. "We are pleased with our financial results for 2018: organic loan growth was robust, core deposits remain a key strength, and net income was the highest in our Bank's history," he continued. "Our bankers remain engaged, and continue their drive to achieve even greater success in 2019 and beyond," concluded McPhaill.
Sierra Bancorp upgraded to Buy on valuation at Sandler O'Neill. Sandler O'Neill analyst Tim O'Brien upgraded Sierra Bancorp to Buy from Hold citing valuation while lowering his price target for the shares to $30 from $31. The analyst says an elevated provision overshadowed an otherwise "solid" Q3 report. The recent pullback in the shares has been excessive and Sierra offers "an attractive value" at current levels, O'Brien tells investors in a research note.
The lift in net income is primarily the result of improvement in net interest income, a substantial net gain on the sale of other real estate owned in the second quarter of 2018, and a lower tax accrual rate, partially offset by higher personnel costs and increases in certain other overhead expenses. The company's return on average assets was 1.34% in the second quarter of 2018, return on average equity was 12.44%, and diluted earnings per share were 52c.