2 $5 Regional Bank Stocks To Buy Now

Includes: HBAN, RF
by: Bret Jensen
The stock market has had a stellar start to the year. After a dismal 2011, the financial sector is one of the strongest performers in the market so far in January. Here are two $5 regional banks that could have significant upside if the market sentiment continues to improve on financials.
Huntington Bancshares (NASDAQ:HBAN) operates as the holding company for The Huntington National Bank that provides commercial and consumer banking services. It offers deposit products, including checking accounts, savings accounts, interest bearing and non-interest bearing demand deposits, time deposits, money market deposits, and brokered deposits and negotiable certificate of deposit." (Business Description from Yahoo Finance)

4 reasons Huntington Bancshares is good long term bargain at $5.91 a share:
  1. Insiders have shown confidence by buying up $1mm worth of new shares in the last half of 2011.
  2. S&P has a "Buy" rating and an $8 price target on HBAN and Credit Suisse has an "outperform" rating.
  3. The stock looks like it has bottomed, is improving technically and just crossed its 200 day moving average (see chart):

4. Huntington sells for roughly 9 times forward earnings and just under book value.

Regions Financial (NYSE:RF) operates as the holding company for the Regions Bank that provides a range of commercial, retail, and mortgage banking services in the United States. It offers various deposit products, including savings accounts, transaction accounts, and money market accounts, as well as time deposits, such as certificate of deposits and individual retirement accounts." (Business Description from Yahoo Finance)

4 reasons Regions Financial is a buy at just under $5 a share:
  1. Insiders bought over 100,000 shares in August which is good vote of confidence.
  2. The technicals are improving rapidly (see chart):

3. After losing $.79 a share in FY2010, RF is expected to book $.19 a share of profit in FY2011 and analysts project $.48 a share in FY2012.
4. The company has taken solid steps to improve its credit quality and capital levels since 2009. In addition, Regions is selling at less than 2 times the $2.67 a share it made in FY2006.

Disclosure: I am long HBAN.