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

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report issued on Tuesday morning. They currently have $28.00 target price on the financial services provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Fifth Third have underperformed the industry over the past six months. While estimates ahead of fourth-quarter 2018 earnings have remained stable lately, the company displays an impressive earnings surprise history, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate in all 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 headwinds. Also, significant exposure to commercial loans remains a concern. Nevertheless, its steady capital deployment activities keep us encouraged.”

Several other equities analysts have also issued reports on FITB. BidaskClub raised Fifth Third Bancorp from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note on Tuesday, October 30th. Morgan Stanley dropped their price target on Fifth Third Bancorp from $32.00 to $30.00 and set an equal weight rating on the stock in a research note on Tuesday, December 11th. Raymond James raised Fifth Third Bancorp from a market perform rating to an outperform rating and set a $30.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, October 31st. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Barclays dropped their price target on Fifth Third Bancorp from $35.00 to $31.00 and set an equal weight rating on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, January 2nd. Finally, Stephens raised Fifth Third Bancorp from an equal weight rating to an overweight rating in a research note on Thursday, December 20th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have given a hold rating and six have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $31.75.

FITB traded up $0.13 during trading on Tuesday, hitting $25.05. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 2,105,433 shares, compared to its average volume of 6,170,248. Fifth Third Bancorp has a twelve month low of $22.12 and a twelve month high of $34.67. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.00, a quick ratio of 0.88 and a current ratio of 0.89. The firm has a market cap of $16.42 billion, a PE ratio of 9.35, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.28 and a beta of 1.24.

Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, October 23rd. The financial services provider reported $0.64 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.63 by $0.01. Fifth Third Bancorp had a return on equity of 11.74% and a net margin of 28.89%. The firm had revenue of $1.61 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.63 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $1.35 earnings per share. Research analysts predict that Fifth Third Bancorp will post 2.55 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 15th. Stockholders of record on Monday, December 31st will be issued a dividend of $0.22 per share. This is an increase from Fifth Third Bancorp’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.18. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, December 28th. This represents a $0.88 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.51%. Fifth Third Bancorp’s payout ratio is currently 32.84%.

Institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Legal & General Group Plc grew its holdings in Fifth Third Bancorp by 4.1% during the third quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 3,362,439 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $93,883,000 after buying an additional 131,059 shares in the last quarter. PGGM Investments boosted its position in Fifth Third Bancorp by 15.7% in the third quarter. PGGM Investments now owns 1,152,642 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $32,182,000 after purchasing an additional 156,042 shares during the last quarter. Reinhart Partners Inc. boosted its position in Fifth Third Bancorp by 6.5% in the third quarter. Reinhart Partners Inc. now owns 590,970 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $16,500,000 after purchasing an additional 35,816 shares during the last quarter. Deprince Race & Zollo Inc. boosted its position in Fifth Third Bancorp by 20.5% in the third quarter. Deprince Race & Zollo Inc. now owns 660,661 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $18,446,000 after purchasing an additional 112,499 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Banco Santander S.A. purchased a new position in Fifth Third Bancorp in the third quarter worth $875,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 81.85% of the company’s stock.

About Fifth Third Bancorp

Fifth Third Bancorp operates as a diversified financial services company in the United States. The company's Commercial Banking segment offers credit intermediation, cash management, and financial services; lending and depository products; and cash management, foreign exchange and international trade finance, derivatives and capital markets services, asset-based lending, real estate finance, public finance, commercial leasing, and syndicated finance for business, government, and professional customers.

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