National Bank of Canada (TSX:NA), one of Canada’s largest banks, has posted a disappointing performance in 2015, falling more than 13.5%, but it has the potential to turn things around and head significantly higher in both the short and long term. Let’s take a look at three of the primary reasons why this could happen and why you should buy the stock today.

1. Its strong earnings results could support a higher share price

On the morning of August 26, National Bank released very strong earnings results for its three and nine-month periods ending on July 31, 2015, and its stock has responded by rising over 2.5% in the trading sessions since. Here’s a summary of 10 of the most notable statistics from the first nine months of fiscal 2015 compared with the same period in fiscal 2014:

  1. Adjusted net income increased 6.7% to $1.27 billion
  2. Adjusted earnings per share increased 6% to $3.54
  3. Adjusted revenue increased 7.4% to $4.51 billion
  4. Non-interest income increased 8.1% to $2.29 billion
  5. Net interest income increased 6.7% to $2.22 billion
  6. Total assets increased 8.4% to $215.56 billion
  7. Total deposits increased 11% to $127.61 billion
  8. Total loans and acceptances increased 9.1% to $112.79 billion
  9. Total assets under management increased 19.8% to $50.39 billion
  10. Book value per share increased 9.6% to $27.60

2. Its stock trades at inexpensive forward valuations

At today’s levels, National Bank’s stock trades at just nine times fiscal 2015’s estimated earnings per share of $4.73 and only 8.7 times fiscal 2016’s estimated earnings per share of $4.89, both of which are inexpensive compared with its five-year average price-to-earnings multiple of 10.2 and the industry average multiple of 12.

I think National Bank’s stock could consistently trade at a fair multiple of at least 12, which would place its shares upwards of $58.50 by the conclusion of fiscal 2016, representing upside of more than 37% from current levels.

3. It is both a high-dividend and dividend-growth play

National Bank pays a quarterly dividend of $0.52 per share, or $2.08 per share annually, which gives its stock a 4.9% yield at today’s levels. It is also very important to note that the company has increased its dividend for five consecutive years, and its strong operational performance could allow this streak to continue for decades.

Is now the time to buy National Bank of Canada?

I think National Bank of Canada will be one of the market’s top performing stocks going forward. Its strong earnings results could support a higher share price, its stock trades at inexpensive forward valuations, and it is both a high-dividend and dividend-growth play, which will continue to attract income investors. All Foolish investors should take a closer look and strongly consider making it a core holding today.

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Fool contributor Joseph Solitro has no position in any stocks mentioned.