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Fulton Financial Announces Special Dividend: Time to Buy?


Fulton Financial Corporation FULT announced a special cash dividend on its common stock of 2 cents per share. The dividend will be paid on Dec 15 to shareholders on record as of Dec 2.

The company has been paying a special dividend of 2 cents per share each year to its shareholders since 2014.

Moreover, since 2011, the company has been continuously increasing its dividend, with the latest one being announced in June 2016, which was a hike of 11.1% from the prior payout.

Concurrently, the company’s Board of Directors extended the timeframe for its share repurchase program by one year, to Dec 31, 2017. The share buyback program which authorizes repurchase up to $50 million worth of shares was announced in Oct 2015.

Under the program, as of Nov 23, 2016, approximately $18.5 million of common stock has already been repurchased.

Is Fulton Financial Worth Adding to Your Portfolio?

Are you contemplating investment in this value enhancing Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock? Before taking any investment decision, let’s have a look at Fulton Financial’s fundamentals and growth prospects.

Earnings Strength: In the past 3–5 years, the company witnessed earnings per share (EPS) growth of 10.9%. Further, it outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate in all four trailing quarters with an average beat of 4.6%.

FULTON FINL Price and EPS Surprise

FULTON FINL Price and EPS Surprise | FULTON FINL Quote

Also, Fulton Financial’s projected EPS growth rate for 2016 is 8.43%. Moreover, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for Fulton has been revised upward by 1.1% for the current year, over the past 60 days.

Leverage: Fulton Financial’s debt/equity ratio stands at 0.45 compared with the industry average of 0.53, indicating lower debt level relative to the industry.

Stock looks Overvalued: Fulton Financial’s P/E ratio stands at 19.64 compared with the industry average of 18.51. Also, its P/B ratio is 1.46, higher than the industry average of 1.32. These together indicate that the stock is overpriced.

Share Price Movement: Over the past three months, the company’s share price has witnessed an uptrend, rising over 29%.

Other Stocks to Consider

Some other stocks in the same space worth considering include Community Bank System Inc. CBU, First Bank FRBA and 1st Constitution Bancorp FCCY.

Community Bank has witnessed an upward earnings estimate revision of 0.9% for the current year, in the past 30 days. Also, its share price is up 41.6% year to date. It currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

First Bank also sports a Zacks Rank #1 and witnessed an upward earnings estimate revision of nearly 8.6% for the current year, over the past 30 days. Moreover, its share price is up 61.9% year to date.

1st Constitution carries a Zacks Rank #2. It has witnessed an upward earnings estimate revision of 10% for the current year in the past 30 days, and its share price has increased 17.7% year to date.

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