First US Bancshares (FUSB): 2019 Top Picks' Mid-Year Update

07/15/2019 5:00 am EST

Focus: FINANCIALS

Benj Gallander

President, Contra the Heard

Benj Gallander, a contrarian specialist and editor of Contra the Heard, selected First US Bancshares (FUSB) as his top investment for 2019. The stock rose 16% in the first half of the year. Here's the latest update on the regional banking outfit.

First US Bancshares, a deep-rooted bank founded in 1952, has jumped about 16% since we selected it at the beginning of the year. We think that there is much more ahead as it seems reasonable that better than a double is in the cards.

In the past, when it was a smaller bank, it traded above $25. With the recent takeover of The Peoples Bank, there is an excellent chance that both revenues and the bottom line will fatten.

In addition, the dividend, which currently rests at $0.02 a quarter may increase. It did hit $0.27 quarterly prior to the recession and while that is a leap beyond current expectations, a double or triple in the payout before the end of 2020 seems reasonable. That would almost assuredly push the stock price up.

Financial ratios for this bank are excellent. The stock still trades well below the book value of almost $13. Insiders own about 5.8%.

The same steady CEO, James House has guided this enterprise since 2011. It would not surprise at all to see a larger enterprise swoop in and take over FUSB with its 20 branches.

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