AG Edwards Lowers Republic Bank to 'Hold'

Analyst David George says while fundamentally solid, the bank is trading at or near its fair value

AG Edwards downgraded Republic Bancorp (RBNC ) to hold from strong buy.

Analyst David George says Republic Bank's stock at Friday's close traded at about 13 times his $1.07 2002 estimate, which is in line with the overall banking sector. While he thinks fundamentals at the company remain very solid, George notes the stock is trading at or near its fair value.

Regarding fundamentals, George says his discounted cash flow model assumes: a service charge growth in the mid-single digits, no growth in personnel costs, a charge-off activity of 20-30 basis points, asset growth in the low- to mid-single digits, and loan growth in the low- to mid-single digits in 2003.

George sees $1.07 2002 earnings per share and $1.16 earnings per share for 2003.

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