Texas Capital Bancshares' (TCBI) stock zoomed to an all-time high Thursday after the Dallas company handily beat first-quarter earnings projections and the investment firm Sterne Agee & Leach upgraded its shares from neutral to buy.

The $8.6 billion-asset company said after markets closed on Wednesday that it earned $27.1 million in the quarter, up 127% from the same period last year, on the strength of a 46% jump in total loans. Its earnings per share of 70 cents was a dime better than consensus estimates of analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

The loan growth led to a 37% increase in net interest income, to $88.5 million, and boosted its net interest margin by 8 basis points, to 4.54%.

Sterne Agee responded to the results by upgrading the stock and raising its price target to $41. The stock closed at $37.21 in heavy trading Thursday, up 7% from Wednesday's closing price. It marked the first time the stock crossed the $37 barrier since the company went public in 2003.

Another investment bank, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods raised its earnings-per-share estimates for the year by 30 cents, to $2.60, citing its solid pipeline of loans.

Texas Capital "is one of the fastest-growing banks nationally right now," KBW explained in research note.

KBW maintained its market perform rating on the stock.

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