Hancock Holding Company Attractive, But Be Wary (HBHC)

| About: Hancock Holding (HBHC)
You Ask: I saw you spit venom at Hancock Holding Company (NASDAQ:HBHC) on another stock research site. What gives?

We Answer:Hancock is a Mississippi bank/holding company with 100 branches, 120 ATMs, and more than $6B in assets UM. We like the balance sheet but don't like that management thinks loan growth won't pick up until late '06.

At 19 x, we're fans, but at 30 x trailing 12 EPS, we have 6 words for you: go easy on the buy trigger. Scale your purchases if you decide to get wet.

If loan growth doesn't show a pulse until 1Q '07, the stock will take a nap in back half of 06 due to lower NIM (net interest margin).

Don't let us keep you from putting this stock on your radar, though: ROE has improved after getting pounded in 03; insiders own over 27% of the shares outstanding; and the float is a miniscule 25 million.

HBHC 1-yr chart: