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RBC Capital Ups East West Bancorp to Outperform

RBC Capital upgraded East West Bancorp (EWBC) to outperform from sector perform, after the company's first quarter results announcement.

Analyst Joe Morford says its 55 cents first quarter earnings per share (EPS) beat his estimate by 3 cents and the consensus by 2 cents. He notes that the upside stemmed from a number of factors, including roughly 2 cents of securities gains. He says that the margin drifted down just two basis points to 4.18%. He also notes accelerated loan growth, further fee gains, and significant improvement in credit. He raises his $2.25 2006 EPS estimate to $2.28 and his $2.60 2007 estimate to $2.62. He notes the recent pullback in shares, as well as his increased confidence in outlook for margin and loan growth. He maintains his $43 stock price target.

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