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Stock Analyst Update

Bottom Line: Fifth Third Is a Top Bank Pick

Earnings growth defies gravity, makes other regionals look bad.

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Fifth Third (FITB) demonstrated again Friday why it's a top investment choice among the regional banks. The company reported first-quarter earnings growth of 17% to $206 million, or $0.66 per share. Wall Street has come to rely on Fifth Third to generate excellent profits each quarter, which explains why the company only exceeded analysts' expectations by a penny.  

To put Fifth Third's 17% earnings growth into perspective, consider the other regional banks that reported first-quarter earnings late this week: Ohio neighbors Huntington (HBAN) and National City (NCC) reported operating profits that were flat to down from year-earlier levels. And Summit Bancorp (SUB) of New Jersey posted earnings growth of 5.2% to $125 million.

Laura Pavlenko Lutton does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.