investing

The Best Stock in Montana: Glacier Bancorp

We analyzed publicly traded companies based in Big Sky Country to identify the best stock in Montana to buy now.

We scoured the nation to identify the best stock in every state. Glacier Bancorp (symbol GBCI) is the publicly traded company we picked in Montana. The company headquarters is located in Kalispell.

A word of caution: Since we selected a single stock from each state (plus one from D.C), and choices in some states are sparse, a few of our picks are best suited to investors comfortable with a higher degree of risk. This is not necessarily one of our 51 favorite stocks in the entire U.S., in other words.

Glacier Bancorp by the Numbers

  • Headquarters: Kalispell
  • Share price: $35.05
  • Market value: $2.7 billion
  • Price-earnings ratio: 19

(Prices and data are as of June 22, 2017)

Glacier is a regional bank holding company that provides commercial banking services at 146 locations in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. The company has grown through acquisition, with the management team snapping up small, regional banks that they believe have potential for growth. This “company of banks” model puts Glacier in a unique niche, says Tim Skiendzielewski of Aberdeen Asset Management, whose Small Cap Equity fund counts the stock among its top-ten holdings.

Glacier’s size and resources, he says, allow its subsidiaries to offer more sophisticated products than local, mom-and-pop banks, while being more involved on a community level than bigger “super-regionals.” Glacier’s conservative underwriting, well-managed expenses and good loan growth have led to superior return on average equity (ROAE) and return on average assets (ROAA) – both key measures of banks’ profitability – compared with its peers. Analysts who cover the stock see per-share earnings growth climbing 12% this year, followed by a 11% jump in 2018. The company has hiked its annual payout every year since 2012, and in January paid a 30-cent special dividend on top of its normal quarterly payout for the third straight year. The stock’s annualized regular payout of 84 cents per share gives it a yield of 2.4%.

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