Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB) Cut to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note released on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Fifth Third have underperformed the industry over the past six months. While estimates ahead of fourth-quarter 2018 earnings have remained stable lately, the company displays an impressive earnings surprise history, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate in all the trailing four quarters. The company’s ongoing strategic efforts, such as Project North Star, will likely boost its efficiency and revenues over the long run. Also, margin pressure seems to be easing gradually due to the Fed’s interest rate hikes and improving economic backdrop. However, elevated expenses on the company’s branch digitization initiative and legal issues remain headwinds. Also, significant exposure to commercial loans remains a concern.”

A number of other equities research analysts have also commented on FITB. Morgan Stanley dropped their price target on Fifth Third Bancorp from $35.50 to $33.00 and set an equal weight rating on the stock in a research report on Tuesday, September 18th. Wedbush set a $34.00 price target on Fifth Third Bancorp and gave the stock a buy rating in a research report on Thursday, September 20th. BidaskClub upgraded Fifth Third Bancorp from a strong sell rating to a sell rating in a report on Friday, October 5th. Nomura upgraded Fifth Third Bancorp from a reduce rating to a neutral rating and decreased their price objective for the stock from $32.00 to $29.00 in a report on Wednesday, October 24th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Finally, BMO Capital Markets decreased their price objective on Fifth Third Bancorp from $32.00 to $30.00 and set a market perform rating for the company in a report on Wednesday, October 24th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have assigned a hold rating and six have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $31.75.

NASDAQ FITB opened at $25.06 on Friday. The stock has a market cap of $16.42 billion, a PE ratio of 9.35, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.28 and a beta of 1.24. The company has a current ratio of 0.89, a quick ratio of 0.88 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.00. Fifth Third Bancorp has a one year low of $22.12 and a one year high of $34.67.

Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, October 23rd. The financial services provider reported $0.64 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.63 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $1.61 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.63 billion. Fifth Third Bancorp had a return on equity of 11.74% and a net margin of 28.89%. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $1.35 earnings per share. Research analysts anticipate that Fifth Third Bancorp will post 2.55 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 15th. Shareholders of record on Monday, December 31st will be paid a $0.22 dividend. This represents a $0.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.51%. This is an increase from Fifth Third Bancorp’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.18. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, December 28th. Fifth Third Bancorp’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 32.84%.

A number of hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of FITB. Rational Advisors LLC grew its stake in Fifth Third Bancorp by 244.7% in the third quarter. Rational Advisors LLC now owns 3,588 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $100,000 after purchasing an additional 2,547 shares in the last quarter. Centaurus Financial Inc. bought a new position in Fifth Third Bancorp in the second quarter valued at approximately $131,000. Migdal Insurance & Financial Holdings Ltd. grew its stake in Fifth Third Bancorp by 79.1% in the third quarter. Migdal Insurance & Financial Holdings Ltd. now owns 7,128 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $199,000 after purchasing an additional 3,148 shares in the last quarter. Private Advisor Group LLC bought a new position in Fifth Third Bancorp in the third quarter valued at approximately $210,000. Finally, Cozad Asset Management Inc. bought a new position in Fifth Third Bancorp in the second quarter valued at approximately $211,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 81.85% of the company’s stock.

Fifth Third Bancorp Company Profile

Fifth Third Bancorp operates as a diversified financial services company in the United States. The company's Commercial Banking segment offers credit intermediation, cash management, and financial services; lending and depository products; and cash management, foreign exchange and international trade finance, derivatives and capital markets services, asset-based lending, real estate finance, public finance, commercial leasing, and syndicated finance for business, government, and professional customers.

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