Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB) to Buy

Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Wednesday. The brokerage currently has a $32.00 price objective on the financial services provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective points to a potential upside of 13.68% from the company’s current price.

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.”

FITB has been the subject of several other reports. BidaskClub lowered Fifth Third Bancorp from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Saturday, August 12th. Robert W. Baird lowered Fifth Third Bancorp from a “neutral” rating to an “underperform” rating and set a $24.00 target price for the company. in a report on Monday, October 2nd. Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. restated a “hold” rating on shares of Fifth Third Bancorp in a report on Saturday, July 22nd. Jefferies Group LLC restated a “hold” rating and issued a $28.00 target price on shares of Fifth Third Bancorp in a report on Friday, July 14th. Finally, Instinet restated a “neutral” rating and issued a $29.00 target price (up from $28.00) on shares of Fifth Third Bancorp in a report on Saturday, September 30th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eighteen have given a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company. Fifth Third Bancorp currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $28.13.

Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB) traded up 0.28% during mid-day trading on Wednesday, reaching $28.23. 3,555,538 shares of the company were exchanged. The company has a market cap of $20.80 billion, a P/E ratio of 14.31 and a beta of 1.37. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $27.00 and its 200-day moving average is $25.77. Fifth Third Bancorp has a 12 month low of $19.57 and a 12 month high of $28.97.

Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB) last posted its 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. 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 during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.52 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $0.40 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up .1% on a year-over-year basis. Equities analysts expect that Fifth Third Bancorp will post $1.83 earnings per share for the current year.

Fifth Third Bancorp announced that its board has initiated a share repurchase plan on Wednesday, June 28th that permits the company to buyback $1.16 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization permits the financial services provider to purchase up to 67% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are typically an indication that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

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In other news, EVP Frank R. Forrest sold 7,004 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred 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 sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 71,793 shares in the company, valued at $1,881,694.53. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Insiders own 0.38% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in FITB. Neuberger Berman Group LLC increased its position in shares of Fifth Third Bancorp by 1.6% during the first quarter. Neuberger Berman Group LLC now owns 60,601 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $1,539,000 after purchasing an additional 939 shares during the period. Dynamic Technology Lab Private Ltd bought a new stake in shares of Fifth Third Bancorp during the first quarter valued at approximately $278,000. Wellington Management Group LLP increased its position in shares of Fifth Third Bancorp by 149.3% during the first quarter. Wellington Management Group LLP now owns 2,166,765 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $55,036,000 after purchasing an additional 1,297,487 shares during the period. WINTON GROUP Ltd increased its position in shares of Fifth Third Bancorp by 54.7% during the first quarter. WINTON GROUP Ltd now owns 1,112,755 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $22,767,000 after purchasing an additional 393,420 shares during the period. Finally, PNC Financial Services Group Inc. increased its position in shares of Fifth Third Bancorp by 0.3% during the first quarter. PNC Financial Services Group Inc. now owns 507,574 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $12,892,000 after purchasing an additional 1,280 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds 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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