After the bell on Jan 28 the Louisiana -based IberiaBank ( IBKC ) released fourth quarter 2013 earnings which saw the small lender make substantial earnings on increased loans and cost reduction. Concomitant with the earnings beat, analysts at Raymond James upgraded IberiaBank's shares, issuing an "outperform" rating. On Jan 14 Wunderlich raises their price target on the company from $70 a share to $74 , issuing a "buy" rating. The 126-year-old IberaiBank is one of the largest regional lenders in the Southern US, with 172 locations spread throughout Louisiana , Arkansas , Tennessee , Alabama , Texas , and Florida . The company sports an additional 62 mortgage branches throughout the South. Following the report, President and CEO Daryl G. Byrd said, "Our financial results showed continued improvement in operating leverage in the fourth quarter of 2013, exhibiting both revenue improvement and significant operating expense reductions." For their fourth quarter 2013 earnings report, IberiaBank reported a net gain of $25.6 million million, or $0.86 per share, versus the net profit of $23.2 million , or $0.76 per share, from the same period a year ago. Revenue for the quarter was $150.91 million , as compared to $150.34 million from the same quarter the previous year. Analysts at Thomas Reuters were expecting a profit of $0.84 per share. For the 2013 fiscal year, earnings were $65.1 million , or $2.20 per share, compared to $76.4 million , or $2.54 per share the year prior. However, investors were impressed enough by the quarter's increased profitability to overlook the year-to-year contraction. IbeariaBank shot up on the earnings beat, rising 6.16 percent by midday to hit $66.49 a share. Compared to the rest of the Financials sector, IberiaBank has been relatively stagnant, gaining only 20 percent over the last year prior to the Q4 2013 earnings. While 20 percent would usually be considered a healthy return, it is half what the Small-Cap Stars Financials index returned in the same timeframe during that sector's bull run.
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