Cullen/Frost Bankers Inc.: A Financial Institution Investors Can Bank On
April 10, 2012
Cullen/Frost Bankers (CFR) is a financial institution founded and headquartered in the heartland of America with an operating history that is the envy of most banking institutions. At its current valuation, this quality mid-cap bank offers investors an attractive and growing yield and the stock can be purchased at a sound valuation. As you examine the earnings and correlated graph take special note of how this company's stock price has tracked its earnings over the longer run.
This article looks at Cullen/Frost Bankers Inc., a Dividend Contender, through the lens of the F.A.S.T. Graphs Fundamentals Analyzer Software Tool. The reader will be provided the "essential fundamentals at a glance," with earnings and price correlated graphs found here.
A Dividend Contender is defined as a company that has increased its dividend for a minimum of 10 - 24 years. Cullen/Frost Bankers Inc. is a Dividend Contender that has raised its dividend every year for 18 consecutive years. The complete Dividend Contenders list is compiledcourtesy of David Fish. (Open as an excel spreadsheet and look at the tabs on the bottom to find the Dividend Contender list).
About Cullen/Frost Bankers Inc.: from the website
"Cullen/Frost Bankers, Inc. is a financial holding company, headquartered in San Antonio, with $20.3 billion in assets at January 25, 2012. One of 24 U.S. banks included in the KBW Bank Index, Frost provides a wide range of banking, investments and insurance services to businesses and individuals in the Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Rio Grande Valley and San Antonio regions. Founded in 1868, Frost has helped clients with financial needs during three centuries."
Cullen/Frost Bankers Inc.: A Dividend Contender with 18 Consecutive Years of Dividend Increases
Learning from the Past - Looking at Earnings Only
Since dividends are paid out of earnings, a clear perspective of a company's historical earnings growth record is a vital component of a dividend investor's prudent due diligence process. The following graph plots Cullen/Frost Bankers Inc.'s earnings per share since 1998. A quick glance to the right of the graph shows that Cullen/Frost Bankers Inc. has increased earnings at a compounded rate of 6.6 % (see purple circle on graph) per annum.
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Earnings Determine Market Price and Dividend Income: The following earnings and price correlated graphs clearly illustrates the importance of earnings to both price movement and dividend income. The earnings growth rate line or True Worth line (orange line with white triangles) is correlated with the historical stock price line. On graph after graph the lines will move in tandem. If the stock price strays away from the earnings line (over or under), inevitably it will come back to earnings.
Since dividends are paid out of earnings, and therefore represent additional return on top of what the market capitalizes earnings at, they are depicted by the light blue shaded area and stacked on top of the earnings line. Therefore, a quick visual of these two important components is simultaneously revealed:
1. The additional return that dividend paying stocks provide.
2. The percentage of earnings paid to shareholders as dividends (payout ratio).
The value in this article is through carefully analyzing the earnings and price correlated fundamentally based graphs. Notice that one glance tells you how well the company has performed on an operating basis historically and how the market valued that historical performance. Therefore, the reader is free to discover whether or not current valuations make sense based on historical norms coupled with fundamental values.
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Performance Table: Capital Appreciation and Dividend IncomeCullen/Frost Bankers Inc.
The associated performance results with the earnings and price correlated graph validates the above discussion regarding the two components of total return: Capital appreciation and dividend income. Dividends are included in the total return calculation and are assumed paid, but not reinvested.
When presented separately like this, the additional rate of return a dividend paying stock produces for shareholders becomes undeniably evident. In addition to the 4.5% capital appreciation (Closing Annualized ROR), long-term shareholders of Cullen/Frost Bankers Inc. would have received an additional $55,059.68 in dividends that increased their total return from 4.5% to 6.4% per annum.
(Note: Since this is a Dividend Contender it has raised its dividend every year for at least 10-24 years, therefore, negative dividend growth rates shown, if any, will be attributed to special additional dividends paid in excess of the company's regularly reported dividend rate.)
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The following graph plots the historically normal PE ratio (the dark blue line) correlated with 10-year Treasury note interest. Notice that the current price earnings ratio on this quality company is as normal as it has been since 1998.
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A further indication of valuation can be seen by examining a company's current price to sales ratio relative to its historical price to sales ratio. The current price to sales ratio for Cullen/Frost Bankers Inc. is 3.82, which is historically normal.
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Looking to the Future
Extensive research has provided a preponderance of conclusive evidence that future long-term returns, and the dividend and its growth rate, are a function of two critical determinants:
1. The rate of change (growth rate) of the company's earnings
2. The price or valuation you pay to buy those earnings
Therefore, forecasting future earnings growth, bought at sound valuations, is the key to safe, sound, and profitable performance.
Therefore, it logically follows that measuring performance without simultaneously measuring valuation is a job half done. At its current price, which is attractively aligned with its True Worth valuation, Cullen/Frost Bankers Inc. represents a potential opportunity to invest in a Dividend Contender at a reasonable price. The important factor is that Cullen/Frost Bankers has real assets and cash flow underpinning its stock price. This solid economic foundation offers shareholders the potential for both a strong margin of safety and an opportunity for an increasing dividend income stream and potentially attractive future returns.
The Estimated Earnings and Return Calculator Tool is a simple yet powerful resource that empowers the user to calculate and run various investing scenarios that generate precise rate of return potentialities. Thinking the investment through to its logical conclusion is an important component toward making sound and prudent commonsense investing decisions.
The consensus of 17 leading analysts reporting to Capital IQ forecast Cullen/Frost Bankers Inc. long-term earnings growth is at 8.5%. Cullen/Frost Bankers Inc. is currently trading at a P/E of 15.8, which is inside the value corridor (defined by the five orange lines) of a maximum P/E of 18. If the earnings materialize as forecast, Cullen/Frost Bankers Inc.'s True Worth valuation would be $78.94 at the end of 2017, which would be a 8.9% annual rate of return from the current price, including assumed dividends.
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Earnings Yield Estimates
Discounted Future Cash Flows: All companies derive their value from the future cash flows (earnings) they are capable of generating for stakeholders over time. Therefore, because earnings determine market price and dividend income in the long run, we expect the future earnings of a company to justify the price we pay.
Since all investments potentially compete with all other investments, it is useful to compare investing in any prospective company to that of a comparable investment in low risk Treasury bonds. Comparing an investment in Cullen/Frost Bankers Inc. to an equal investment in 10-year Treasury bonds illustrates that Cullen/Frost Bankers Inc.'s expected earnings would be 4 times that of the 10-Year T-Bond Interest. (See EYE chart below). This is the essence of the importance of proper valuation as a critical investing component.
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This report presents essential "fundamentals at a glance" on Dividend Contenders Cullen/Frost Bankers Inc., illustrating the past and present valuation based on earnings achievements as reported. Future forecasts for earnings growth are based on the consensus of leading analysts. Although with just a quick glance you can know a lot about the company, it's imperative that the reader conduct his or her own due diligence in order to validate whether the consensus estimates seem reasonable or not.
Summary and Conclusions
We believe Cullen/Frost Bankers Inc. represents an excellent opportunity for investors seeking a well-managed financial with an above-average dividend yield and excellent track record based on conservative and prudent business practices. The fact that this financial has strung together 18 consecutive years of dividend increases through the financial services industry's most difficult times is a testament to the quality and prudent management of this well-run banking institution. Therefore, prospective investors seeking an attractive and growing dividend yield might want to consider a position in Cullen/Frost Bankers Inc.
Disclaimer: The opinions in this document are for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell the stocks mentioned or to solicit transactions or clients. Past performance of the companies discussed may not continue and the companies may not achieve the earnings growth as predicted. The information in this document is believed to be accurate, but under no circumstances should a person act upon the information contained within. We do not recommend that anyone act upon any investment information without first consulting an investment advisor as to the suitability of such investments for his specific situation.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.
(C) F.A.S.T. Graphs
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