Fifth Third Bank (FITB) Downgraded to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Fifth Third Bank (NASDAQ:FITB) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report published on Thursday morning.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Fifth Third have outperformed the industry over the past six months. While earnings estimates for the soon-to-be-reported quarter have not seen any revision lately, the company possesses a decent earnings surprise history, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate in two of 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 concerns. Nevertheless, Fifth Third's improving credit quality remains a tailwind.”

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Other equities research analysts also recently issued reports about the company. BidaskClub raised Fifth Third Bank from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Saturday, January 13th. Vining Sparks reaffirmed a buy rating and set a $35.00 price target on shares of Fifth Third Bank in a report on Sunday, January 28th. Morgan Stanley increased their price target on Fifth Third Bank from $34.00 to $35.00 and gave the stock an equal weight rating in a report on Friday, January 26th. Barclays increased their price target on Fifth Third Bank from $31.00 to $35.00 and gave the stock an equal weight rating in a report on Tuesday, January 2nd. Finally, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reaffirmed a hold rating and set a $35.00 price target on shares of Fifth Third Bank in a report on Wednesday, January 24th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, fifteen have given a hold rating, two have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $31.05.

Shares of NASDAQ FITB opened at $31.41 on Thursday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.99, a current ratio of 0.90 and a quick ratio of 0.89. Fifth Third Bank has a 1-year low of $23.20 and a 1-year high of $34.57. The firm has a market cap of $21,578.10, a P/E ratio of 17.07, a P/E/G ratio of 1.71 and a beta of 1.32.

Fifth Third Bank (NASDAQ:FITB) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, January 23rd. The financial services provider reported $0.52 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.47 by $0.05. Fifth Third Bank had a return on equity of 9.65% and a net margin of 27.08%. The firm had revenue of $1.53 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.58 billion. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.49 earnings per share. sell-side analysts predict that Fifth Third Bank will post 2.33 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Fifth Third Bank announced that its board has approved a share repurchase plan on Tuesday, February 27th that allows the company to repurchase 100,000,000 shares. This repurchase authorization allows the financial services provider to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are typically an indication that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, April 16th. Shareholders of record on Friday, March 30th will be issued a $0.16 dividend. This represents a $0.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.04%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, March 28th. Fifth Third Bank’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 23.88%.

In other news, CEO Greg D. Carmichael sold 87,613 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, February 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $32.37, for a total value of $2,836,032.81. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, SVP Mark D. Hazel sold 7,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Monday, February 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $32.81, for a total value of $246,075.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 62,254 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,042,553.74. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders sold 183,978 shares of company stock valued at $6,033,127. Company insiders own 0.40% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Eaton Vance Management increased its position in shares of Fifth Third Bank by 1.1% in the fourth quarter. Eaton Vance Management now owns 1,575,973 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $47,815,000 after buying an additional 16,774 shares in the last quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank increased its position in shares of Fifth Third Bank by 9.2% in the fourth quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank now owns 305,769 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $9,277,000 after buying an additional 25,741 shares in the last quarter. Wealthfront Inc. increased its position in shares of Fifth Third Bank by 5.7% in the fourth quarter. Wealthfront Inc. now owns 43,351 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $1,315,000 after buying an additional 2,347 shares in the last quarter. BRITISH COLUMBIA INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT Corp increased its position in shares of Fifth Third Bank by 79.7% in the fourth quarter. BRITISH COLUMBIA INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT Corp now owns 732,251 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $22,216,000 after buying an additional 324,839 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Glenmede Trust Co. NA increased its position in shares of Fifth Third Bank by 5.3% in the fourth quarter. Glenmede Trust Co. NA now owns 1,660,065 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $50,365,000 after buying an additional 84,187 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 84.55% of the company’s stock.

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Fifth Third Bank Company Profile

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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