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East West Bancorp (EWBC) Upgraded, Shares Surge 8%

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Keefe, Bruyette & Woods analyst Julianna Balicka upgraded her rating of East West Bancorp Inc (Nasdaq: EWBC) to Outperform, with a price target of $21 per share.

The main reason that Balicka upgraded East West Bancorp (EWBC) was because of the bank's purchase of Washington First International Bank, which she said showed that the bank is a regional power that is ready to move beyond California and New York.

The Keefe, Bruyette & Woods analyst wrote, "In an FDIC-assisted transaction, EWBC acquired the $504 million-in assets Washington First International Bank. This transaction provides us a fundamentals-based catalyst for upgrading the stock and demonstrates EWBC’s ability to grow despite a lackluster organic loan growth environment by targeting important Asian-American markets outside of L.A. The deal also confirms EWBC’s balance sheet strength and confirms the bank as a regional winner. Upgrading EWBC to Outperform, raising estimates and PT."

Shares of East West Bancorp (EWBC) were up more than 8% at $16.88 during the morning trading session.

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