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

Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report issued 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.”

Other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports about the company. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $27.50 target price on shares of Fifth Third Bancorp in a research note on Friday, July 14th. BMO Capital Markets reissued a “market perform” rating and issued a $28.00 target price (up from $27.00) on shares of Fifth Third Bancorp in a research note on Tuesday, July 25th. TheStreet raised Fifth Third Bancorp from a “c+” rating to a “b” rating in a report on Friday, June 23rd. BidaskClub downgraded Fifth Third Bancorp from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Saturday, August 12th. Finally, Wells Fargo & Company assumed coverage on Fifth Third Bancorp in a report on Wednesday, August 9th. They set a “market perform” rating and a $27.00 price target on the stock. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nineteen have given a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $28.13.

Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB) last released its earnings results on Friday, July 21st. The financial services provider reported $0.45 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.42 by $0.03. Fifth Third Bancorp had a return on equity of 10.44% and a net margin of 21.83%. The firm had revenue of $1.51 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.52 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.40 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was up .1% on a year-over-year basis.

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

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

Several large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Park National Corp OH grew its position in shares of Fifth Third Bancorp by 13.3% during the third quarter. Park National Corp OH now owns 68,947 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $1,929,000 after purchasing an additional 8,082 shares in the last quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank grew its position in shares of Fifth Third Bancorp by 25.3% during the second quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank now owns 254,772 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $6,612,000 after purchasing an additional 51,384 shares in the last quarter. Archford Capital Strategies LLC grew its position in shares of Fifth Third Bancorp by 19,333.3% during the second quarter. Archford Capital Strategies LLC now owns 9,328 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $1,429,000 after purchasing an additional 9,280 shares in the last quarter. Afam Capital Inc. grew its position in shares of Fifth Third Bancorp by 1.5% during the second quarter. Afam Capital Inc. now owns 222,679 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $5,781,000 after purchasing an additional 3,336 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Koch Industries Inc. purchased a new stake in shares of Fifth Third Bancorp during the second quarter worth about $325,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 79.58% 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.

Analyst Recommendations for Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB)

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