Citizens Financial Group, Inc. (CFG) Upgraded to “Buy” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Citizens Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE:CFG) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report issued on Tuesday. The brokerage currently has $37.00 price target on the bank’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Citizens Financial have outperformed the industry year to date. This performance was supported by the company’s impressive earnings surprise history. It hasn’t missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in any of the trailing four quarters. It remains on track to implement TOP III efficiency initiatives, which are expected to boost earnings performance further. The company also launched TOP IV initiatives which are expected to achieve pre-tax benefit of $90-$105 million by the end of 2018. Following the Fed rate hikes so far, margin pressure seems to be easing. Also, the company continues to benefit from improving loans and deposit balances, and is well positioned to grow further as the U.S. economy is gaining traction. However, higher costs resulting from pending legal hassles remain a major concern.”

CFG has been the topic of a number of other reports. BidaskClub upgraded Citizens Financial Group from a strong sell rating to a sell rating in a report on Friday, August 25th. TheStreet downgraded Citizens Financial Group from a b- rating to a c rating in a report on Monday, June 26th. BMO Capital Markets reiterated a market perform rating and issued a $39.00 price target (up from $38.00) on shares of Citizens Financial Group in a report on Tuesday, July 25th. Deutsche Bank AG reiterated a hold rating on shares of Citizens Financial Group in a report on Wednesday, July 5th. Finally, Macquarie initiated coverage on Citizens Financial Group in a research report on Thursday, May 18th. They issued an underperform rating and a $33.00 price objective for the company. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $35.75.

Shares of Citizens Financial Group (CFG) opened at 35.16 on Tuesday. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $33.99 and a 200 day moving average price of $35.34. Citizens Financial Group has a 52 week low of $23.81 and a 52 week high of $39.75. The stock has a market capitalization of $17.60 billion, a PE ratio of 15.01 and a beta of 1.32.

Citizens Financial Group (NYSE:CFG) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Friday, July 21st. The bank reported $0.63 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.59 by $0.04. Citizens Financial Group had a return on equity of 6.08% and a net margin of 19.86%. The business had revenue of $1.40 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.40 billion. During the same period last year, the business posted $0.46 EPS. The business’s revenue was up 9.2% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities analysts forecast that Citizens Financial Group will post $2.53 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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Citizens Financial Group announced that its Board of Directors has approved a share buyback program on Wednesday, June 28th that permits the company to buyback $850.00 million in shares. This buyback authorization permits the bank to reacquire up to 4.8% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are often an indication that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of CFG. Sun Life Financial INC lifted its position in Citizens Financial Group by 41,266.7% during the 2nd quarter. Sun Life Financial INC now owns 3,723 shares of the bank’s stock worth $133,000 after acquiring an additional 3,714 shares during the period. Smithfield Trust Co. lifted its position in Citizens Financial Group by 1.4% during the 2nd quarter. Smithfield Trust Co. now owns 4,994 shares of the bank’s stock worth $178,000 after acquiring an additional 70 shares during the period. Colony Group LLC acquired a new stake in Citizens Financial Group during the 2nd quarter worth about $210,000. Greenwood Capital Associates LLC acquired a new stake in Citizens Financial Group during the 1st quarter worth about $211,000. Finally, Holderness Investments Co. acquired a new stake in Citizens Financial Group during the 1st quarter worth about $214,000. 96.86% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

Citizens Financial Group Company Profile

Citizens Financial Group, Inc is a retail bank holding company. The Company operates through two segments: Consumer Banking and Commercial Banking. Its Consumer Banking serves retail customers and small businesses. Consumer Banking products and services include deposit products, mortgage and home equity lending, auto financing, student loans, personal unsecured lines and loans, credit cards, business loans, wealth management and investment services.

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Analyst Recommendations for Citizens Financial Group (NYSE:CFG)

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