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

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note released on Tuesday. Zacks Investment Research currently has $30.00 price objective on the financial services provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Fifth Third have outperformed the industry over the past three months. Also, the company has an impressive earnings surprise history, having beaten 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, the company's involvement in steady capital deployment activities remains impressive.”

FITB has been the subject of a number of other reports. BidaskClub lowered Fifth Third Bancorp from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report on Thursday, February 28th. ValuEngine lowered Fifth Third Bancorp from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report on Wednesday, January 30th. Citigroup upgraded Fifth Third Bancorp from a neutral rating to a buy rating and decreased their price objective for the stock from $37.00 to $29.00 in a research report on Wednesday, January 9th. Stephens upgraded Fifth Third Bancorp from an equal weight rating to an overweight rating in a research report on Thursday, December 20th. Finally, Barclays decreased their price objective on Fifth Third Bancorp from $35.00 to $31.00 and set an equal weight rating for the company in a research report on Wednesday, January 2nd. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have given a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $31.27.

NASDAQ:FITB opened at $28.41 on Tuesday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.97, a current ratio of 0.88 and a quick ratio of 0.88. Fifth Third Bancorp has a 1-year low of $22.12 and a 1-year high of $34.67. The firm has a market capitalization of $18.07 billion, a P/E ratio of 11.19, a P/E/G ratio of 1.30 and a beta of 1.33.

Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, January 22nd. The financial services provider reported $0.69 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.67 by $0.02. Fifth Third Bancorp had a return on equity of 12.34% and a net margin of 27.32%. The firm had revenue of $1.66 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.66 billion. During the same period last year, the company posted $0.48 EPS. Research analysts expect that Fifth Third Bancorp will post 2.76 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, April 15th. Stockholders of record on Friday, March 29th will be paid a dividend of $0.22 per share. This represents a $0.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.10%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, March 28th. Fifth Third Bancorp’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 34.65%.

In other news, EVP Frank R. Forrest sold 26,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, March 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $26.37, for a total transaction of $685,620.00. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 62,974 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,660,624.38. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. 0.40% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. SRS Capital Advisors Inc. raised its stake in shares of Fifth Third Bancorp by 82.1% in the 4th quarter. SRS Capital Advisors Inc. now owns 1,080 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $25,000 after acquiring an additional 487 shares in the last quarter. JOYN Advisors Inc. increased its position in Fifth Third Bancorp by 38.6% in the 4th quarter. JOYN Advisors Inc. now owns 1,722 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $41,000 after buying an additional 480 shares during the period. Executive Wealth Management LLC bought a new position in Fifth Third Bancorp in the 4th quarter worth approximately $69,000. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund increased its position in Fifth Third Bancorp by 2,225.3% in the 4th quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 1,765,315 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $75,000 after buying an additional 1,689,396 shares during the period. Finally, Lindbrook Capital LLC bought a new position in Fifth Third Bancorp in the 4th quarter worth approximately $75,000. 82.08% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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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Analyst Recommendations for Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB)

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