Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Bank of the Ozarks Inc. (NASDAQ:OZRK) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report report published on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Estimates have been stable lately ahead of Bank of the Ozarks’ third-quarter 2016 earnings release. Notably, the company has a positive record of earnings surprises in recent quarters. Further, the company’s inorganic growth strategy should continue to help in revenue improvement. Also, consistent improvement in loans and deposits, and credit quality will likely help the company strengthen its financials. In addition, persistent increases in quarterly dividend continue to boost the investors’ confidence. However, operating expenses continue to rise as the company expands its footprints organically as well as through acquisitions. Further, increased exposure to risky real estate loans continues to pose a major concern. In addition, low interest rate environment is expected to continue exerting pressure on net interest margin in the near term.”

Several other equities research analysts also recently weighed in on the stock. Wells Fargo & Co. initiated coverage on shares of Bank of the Ozarks in a research note on Thursday, June 23rd. They set a market perform rating on the stock. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reissued an outperform rating and issued a $46.00 price objective (down from $48.00) on shares of Bank of the Ozarks in a research report on Friday, June 24th. Rafferty Capital Markets assumed coverage on shares of Bank of the Ozarks in a research report on Friday, September 16th. They issued a buy rating and a $46.00 price objective on the stock. Finally, Raymond James Financial Inc. raised shares of Bank of the Ozarks from a market perform rating to an outperform rating and set a $51.00 price objective on the stock in a research report on Thursday, August 25th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has an average rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $47.20.

Bank of the Ozarks (NASDAQ:OZRK) traded up 1.195% on Friday, reaching $41.075. 1,085,680 shares of the company were exchanged. Bank of the Ozarks has a 52 week low of $33.51 and a 52 week high of $54.96. The stock has a 50-day moving average price of $38.70 and a 200 day moving average price of $38.87. The stock has a market capitalization of $4.97 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.103 and a beta of 1.32.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 21st. Investors of record on Friday, October 14th will be paid a dividend of $0.165 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, October 12th. This represents a $0.66 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.63%. This is a boost from Bank of the Ozarks’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.16. Bank of the Ozarks’s dividend payout ratio is currently 28.32%.

In other news, Director Walter J. Mullen III bought 1,120 shares of Bank of the Ozarks stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, August 10th. The stock was bought at an average price of $37.14 per share, for a total transaction of $41,596.80. Following the purchase, the director now owns 3,775 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $140,203.50. The purchase was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Director Walter J. Mullen III bought 1,130 shares of Bank of the Ozarks stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, August 2nd. The stock was purchased at an average price of $35.28 per share, with a total value of $39,866.40. Following the purchase, the director now directly owns 2,650 shares in the company, valued at approximately $93,492. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Corporate insiders own 8.70% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Fiera Capital Corp purchased a new stake in Bank of the Ozarks during the second quarter valued at approximately $36,995,000. Hermes Investment Management Ltd. purchased a new stake in Bank of the Ozarks during the second quarter valued at approximately $28,767,000. Loomis Sayles & Co. L P boosted its stake in Bank of the Ozarks by 168.4% in the second quarter. Loomis Sayles & Co. L P now owns 1,216,388 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $45,639,000 after buying an additional 763,199 shares during the period. Edge Asset Management Inc. purchased a new stake in Bank of the Ozarks during the second quarter valued at approximately $23,999,000. Finally, State Street Corp boosted its stake in Bank of the Ozarks by 11.9% in the second quarter. State Street Corp now owns 5,064,050 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $190,002,000 after buying an additional 537,768 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 71.41% of the company’s stock.

About Bank of the Ozarks

Bank of the Ozarks, Inc is a bank holding company. The Company owns an Arkansas state chartered subsidiary bank, Bank of the Ozarks (the Bank). The Company, through the Bank, conducts operations through approximately 257 offices, including over 80 offices in Arkansas, approximately 30 in Georgia, over 20 in North Carolina, over 20 in Texas, approximately 44 in Florida, over three in Alabama, approximately two each in South Carolina and New York, and one in California.

5 Day Chart for NASDAQ:OZRK

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