Abilene, Texas-based First Financial Bankshares Inc. once again led the country with a price-to-estimated 2018 earnings ratio of 27.4x as of Aug. 31, up from 24.8x during S&P Global Market Intelligence's last analysis at the end of May.
Since May 31, the company's shares have returned 15.3%, compared to a 4.8% return for the SNL U.S. Bank and Thrift Index and a 7.8% return for the S&P 500.
Meanwhile, two California-based banks, Westamerica Bancorp. and First Republic Bank, came in second- and third-place again with ratios of 23.5x and 21.4x, respectively. Westamerica's shares returned 12.6% over the last three months, while First Republic's shares returned 2.0%.
As a group, the 25 bank stocks with the highest price-to-estimated 2018 earnings have returned a median 34.3% over the last 12 months, compared to 21.2% for the industry as a whole.
S&P Global Market Intelligence analyzed profitable U.S. banks and thrifts that appear to be valued more as a multiple of earnings than tangible book value. To be included in this analysis, a company had to report a return on average tangible common equity for the last 12 months above 8% and have at least three analyst EPS estimates available for fiscal 2019. In addition, the bottom 10% of banks and thrifts by price-to-tangible book value were excluded from the analysis.
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