Associated Banc (ASB) Lowered to “Sell” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Associated Banc (NYSE:ASB) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Associated Banc-Corp’s shares have underperformed the industry in the past three months. Yet, the company has an impressive earnings surprise history, having surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in all of the trailing four quarters. Given its inorganic growth efforts and continued investment in franchise, expenses are likely to remain elevated in the quarters ahead, thereby hurting profitability to some extent. Moreover, the company's increased dependence on commercial loans remains a key near-term concern. Nonetheless, higher interest rates, rise in loan demand and the company's inorganic expansion driven by strong balance sheet position it well for the future.”

ASB has been the topic of several other reports. Morgan Stanley restated a hold rating and issued a $29.50 price target (down from $30.00) on shares of Associated Banc in a research report on Tuesday, September 18th. Jefferies Financial Group restated a hold rating and issued a $30.00 price target on shares of Associated Banc in a research report on Friday, July 20th. Finally, Robert W. Baird restated a buy rating and issued a $30.00 price target on shares of Associated Banc in a research report on Tuesday, July 10th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have assigned a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $28.61.

NYSE ASB traded down $0.08 during midday trading on Wednesday, hitting $26.52. The company had a trading volume of 1,994 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,360,134. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.47, a current ratio of 0.95 and a quick ratio of 0.95. The firm has a market capitalization of $4.62 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.37, a P/E/G ratio of 1.90 and a beta of 0.91. Associated Banc has a fifty-two week low of $23.25 and a fifty-two week high of $29.02.

Associated Banc (NYSE:ASB) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 19th. The bank reported $0.53 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.48 by $0.05. The company had revenue of $319.20 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $316.63 million. Associated Banc had a net margin of 20.00% and a return on equity of 9.10%. During the same period last year, the business posted $0.36 EPS. sell-side analysts expect that Associated Banc will post 2.02 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, September 17th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, September 4th were issued a dividend of $0.15 per share. This represents a $0.60 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.26%. The ex-dividend date was Friday, August 31st. Associated Banc’s payout ratio is 39.47%.

In other news, insider Timothy J. Lau sold 19,834 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, July 24th. The shares were sold at an average price of $28.08, for a total transaction of $556,938.72. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 69,098 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,940,271.84. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, CFO Moral-Niles Christopher Del acquired 2,000 shares of Associated Banc stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, September 19th. The shares were acquired at an average cost of $25.00 per share, with a total value of $50,000.00. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders have bought 121,000 shares of company stock valued at $3,025,000 and have sold 40,675 shares valued at $1,135,267. 2.13% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Glen Harbor Capital Management LLC lifted its holdings in Associated Banc by 9.9% during the 2nd quarter. Glen Harbor Capital Management LLC now owns 21,196 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $579,000 after purchasing an additional 1,904 shares during the last quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund lifted its holdings in Associated Banc by 3.0% during the 2nd quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 65,668 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $1,793,000 after purchasing an additional 1,910 shares during the last quarter. Arizona State Retirement System lifted its holdings in Associated Banc by 1.7% during the 2nd quarter. Arizona State Retirement System now owns 117,393 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $3,205,000 after purchasing an additional 1,989 shares during the last quarter. Wedge Capital Management L L P NC lifted its holdings in Associated Banc by 9.4% during the 2nd quarter. Wedge Capital Management L L P NC now owns 25,270 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $690,000 after purchasing an additional 2,166 shares during the last quarter. Finally, PNC Financial Services Group Inc. lifted its holdings in Associated Banc by 6.2% during the 2nd quarter. PNC Financial Services Group Inc. now owns 45,489 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $1,241,000 after purchasing an additional 2,662 shares during the last quarter. 76.39% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

Associated Banc Company Profile

Associated Banc-Corp, a bank holding company, provides various banking and nonbanking products to individuals and businesses primarily in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota. Its Corporate and Commercial Specialty segment offers deposit and cash management solutions, such as commercial checking and interest-bearing deposit products, cash vault and night depository services, liquidity solutions, payables and receivables solutions, and information services; and lending solutions, including commercial loans and lines of credit, commercial real estate financing, construction loans, letters of credit, leasing, asset based lending, and loan syndications.

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