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 issued to investors on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Fifth Third have outperformed the industry over the past six months. The performance was supported by the company’s impressive earnings surprise history. It surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in three of the trailing four quarters. The company’s ongoing strategic efforts, such as Project North Star, will likely boost its efficiency and revenue over the long run. Also, margin pressure seems to be easing gradually, given the Fed interest rate hikes and improving economic backdrop. Fifth Third’s growing deposits base look encouraging. However, elevated expenses on the company’s branch digitization initiative and legal issues remain a concern.”

Several other research firms have also recently weighed in on FITB. UBS AG reissued a sell rating and set a $26.00 price target (up from $25.00) on shares of Fifth Third Bancorp in a report on Friday, October 6th. Morgan Stanley reissued an equal weight rating and set a $28.00 price target (up from $26.00) on shares of Fifth Third Bancorp in a report on Thursday, July 6th. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reissued a hold rating and set a $27.50 price target on shares of Fifth Third Bancorp in a report on Friday, July 14th. Citigroup Inc. reissued a neutral rating and set a $31.00 price target (up from $28.00) on shares of Fifth Third Bancorp in a report on Monday, October 9th. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG reissued a hold rating on shares of Fifth Third Bancorp in a report on Monday, July 3rd. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nineteen have assigned a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Fifth Third Bancorp presently has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $28.13.

Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ FITB) opened at 28.37 on Friday. The firm has a market capitalization of $20.90 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 14.38 and a beta of 1.37. Fifth Third Bancorp has a 52 week low of $19.57 and a 52 week high of $28.97. The company has a 50 day moving average price of $27.04 and a 200-day moving average price of $25.80.

Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB) last released its quarterly earnings results on Friday, July 21st. The financial services provider reported $0.45 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.42 by $0.03. The business had revenue of $1.51 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.52 billion. Fifth Third Bancorp had a return on equity of 10.44% and a net margin of 21.83%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up .1% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.40 EPS. Equities analysts predict that Fifth Third Bancorp will post $1.83 earnings per share for the current year.

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Fifth Third Bancorp declared that its board has approved a share repurchase program on Wednesday, June 28th that allows the company to buyback $1.16 billion in shares. This buyback authorization allows the financial services provider to buy up to 67% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are generally a sign that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, October 16th. Stockholders of record on Friday, September 29th were issued a dividend of $0.16 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, September 28th. This represents a $0.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.26%. This is a boost from Fifth Third Bancorp’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.14. Fifth Third Bancorp’s payout ratio is 32.49%.

In other news, EVP Frank R. Forrest sold 7,004 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, August 18th. The stock was sold at an average price of $26.21, for a total transaction of $183,574.84. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 71,793 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,881,694.53. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. 0.38% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Duncker Streett & Co. Inc. grew its position in Fifth Third Bancorp by 0.3% during the 2nd quarter. Duncker Streett & Co. Inc. now owns 6,491 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $168,000 after acquiring an additional 17 shares during the last quarter. Bragg Financial Advisors Inc grew its position in Fifth Third Bancorp by 0.4% during the 1st quarter. Bragg Financial Advisors Inc now owns 12,479 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $317,000 after acquiring an additional 55 shares during the last quarter. Catawba Capital Management VA grew its position in Fifth Third Bancorp by 0.6% during the 2nd quarter. Catawba Capital Management VA now owns 10,655 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $277,000 after acquiring an additional 65 shares during the last quarter. Bollard Group LLC grew its position in Fifth Third Bancorp by 0.6% during the 2nd quarter. Bollard Group LLC now owns 17,906 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $465,000 after acquiring an additional 102 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Commerce Bank grew its position in Fifth Third Bancorp by 1.0% during the 2nd quarter. Commerce Bank now owns 16,552 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $430,000 after acquiring an additional 166 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 79.55% of the company’s stock.

About Fifth Third Bancorp

Fifth Third Bancorp is a bank holding company and a financial holding company. The Company conducts its principal lending, deposit gathering, transaction processing and service advisory activities through its banking and non-banking subsidiaries from banking centers located throughout the Midwestern and Southeastern regions of the United States.

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