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First Horizon (FHN) Up 0.7% Since Last Earnings Report: Can It Continue?

It has been about a month since the last earnings report for First Horizon National (FHN). Shares have added about 0.7% in that time frame, underperforming the S&P 500.

Will the recent positive trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is First Horizon due for a pullback? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at its most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important catalysts.

First Horizon Q3 Earnings Beat Estimates, Revenues Fall

First Horizon’s earnings per share of 50 cents beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 41 cents. Results excluded an after-tax impact of 9 cents per share from notable items related to the IBERIABANK Corporation Merger and early retirement of certain trust preferred securities.

Including these items, earnings per share were 41 cents, indicating a 22.6% fall from the prior year quarter.

Results reflect improved deposit balance and provision benefits, partly offset by higher expenses. Pressure on margin due to low interest rates is concerning.

Net income available to common shareholders (GAAP basis) was $224 million, down significantly from $523 million recorded in the prior-year quarter.

Segment wise, net income for regional banking increased to $236 million. Also, the specialty banking segment reported a net income of $142 million, down 10% from the year-ago quarter. Also, the corporate segment incurred a net loss of $143 million.

Revenues Decline, Expenses Fall

Total revenues were $738 million, down 46% year over year. Further, the top line missed the consensus estimate of $743 million.

Net interest income (NII) declined 8% year over year to $492 million.

However, the NIM shrunk 44 basis points (bps) to 2.4%.

Non-interest income was $247 million, declining 70% from the year-ago level.

Non-interest expenses declined 10% year over year to $526 million.

The efficiency ratio was 71.21%, up from the year-ago period’s 43.31%. It should be noted that a rise in the efficiency ratio indicates a decrease in profitability. However, the adjusted efficiency ratio was 62.87% compared with the prior-year quarter’s 57.06%.

Total period-end loans and leases, net of unearned income, totaled $55.4 billion, down 2% from the prior quarter’s end. Total period-end deposits of $74.3 billion increased 1% from the prior quarter.

Credit Quality Improves

Non-performing loans and leases of $339 million declined 2% from the prior-year period. Further, as a percentage of period-end loans on an annualized basis, the allowance for loan losses was 1.32%, down 33 bps from the previous-year quarter.

The third quarter witnessed net charge-offs of $3 million, improving from the prior-year quarter’s $67 million. Moreover, provision for credit losses was a benefit of $85 million against expenses of $80 million in the prior-year quarter.

However, the allowance for loan and lease losses of $734 million increased 26% from the year-ago period.

Capital Ratios Improve

As of Sep 30, 2021, the Common Equity Tier 1 (CET1) ratio was 10.1%, up from the 9.2% reported at the end of the year-earlier quarter. Additionally, the total capital ratio was 12.6%, up from the previous-year quarter’s 12.1%.

Tier 1 leverage ratio was 8.1%, down from 8.3% in the prior year.

Outlook

Fourth-Quarter 2021

Management expects modest loan growth, excluding Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Average interest earning assets are expected to decline modestly. The company estimates NII on a fully-taxable equivalent basis to fall in the high end of low single digit range. This assumes lower accretion and PPP benefits. Nonetheless, core NII is expected to be relatively stable.

Charge-offs are expected to be in the range of 5-15 bps. CET1 ratio is anticipated to be in the 9.5-10% range.

On the expense front, non-interest expenses are expected to be down in the low-single digit range, driven by ongoing endeavors on efficiency and achievement of merger cost-saves. Net pre-tax integration costs are expected to be in the range of $40-$50 million.

Non-interest income is expected to be down by mid to high single-digit. The same highlights anticipated further pressure from non-sufficient funds pricing changes with seasonally lower mortgage and wealth fees and further moderation of fixed income fees.

How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?

It turns out, estimates review have trended downward during the past month.

VGM Scores

At this time, First Horizon has a poor Growth Score of F, however its Momentum Score is doing a lot better with a C. Following the exact same course, the stock was allocated a grade of C on the value side, putting it in the middle 20% for this investment strategy.

Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of D. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.

Outlook

Estimates have been broadly trending downward for the stock, and the magnitude of these revisions indicates a downward shift. Notably, First Horizon has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). We expect an in-line return from the stock in the next few months.


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