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Boenning & Scattergood initiates OceanFirst at 'outperform'

Initiations

Frank Schiraldi of Sandler O'Neill & Partners LP initiated coverage of Stroudsburg, Pa.-based ESSA Bancorp Inc.'s stock at a "hold" rating, setting a price target of $17.

The analyst wrote that the company's stock has been holding up well lately, despite selling pressure in the broader banking group and recent market volatility. Schiraldi does not expect the shares to move significantly higher, though.

The company is expected to grow the loan book overall in the "low-mid-single digit range" over the next one year, and to focus on commercial real estate lending, the analyst wrote.

Schiraldi's EPS estimates for ESSA are $1.08 for 2019 and $1.15 for 2020.

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Boenning & Scattergood Inc. analyst Erik Zwick initiated coverage of Toms River, N.J.-based OceanFirst Financial Corp. with an "outperform" rating and set a price target of $28.

The analyst wrote that the company has one of the strongest deposit franchises in New Jersey and the entire Northeast, and has "true funding advantage" that creates considerable franchise value.

Zwick believes that the annual growth rate for the company can potentially be in mid-single digit in 2019 and that the company can generate approximately 1.30% operating return on assets in 2019.

Zwick's EPS estimates for OceanFirst are $2.20 for 2019 and $2.30 for 2020.