SunTrust Banks Inc. (NYSE:STI) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report issued on Wednesday. The firm presently has a $59.00 price target on the financial services provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research’s price target points to a potential upside of 14.79% from the company’s current price.

According to Zacks, “SunTrust’s third-quarter 2016 earnings surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate, reflecting an improved top line, partly offset by higher operating expenses. The company’s initiatives to enhance revenues through growth in loan and deposit balances are impressive. In Oct 2016, the company announced a deal to buy Pillar Financial, which is likely to improve Wholesale Banking segment revenue by $90 million in 2017. Also, the gradually stabilizing energy sector as well as economic recovery will aid the company’s credit quality. However, continued pressure on margins, significant exposure to risky loan portfolios and stringent regulatory requirements are major concerns for the company.”

Several other research analysts have also recently weighed in on the company. Standpoint Research cut SunTrust Banks from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday. Morgan Stanley cut SunTrust Banks from an “equal weight” rating to an “underweight” rating and set a $53.00 target price for the company. in a research note on Monday. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Barclays PLC reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $49.00 target price on shares of SunTrust Banks in a research note on Monday, November 7th. FBR & Co set a $49.00 target price on SunTrust Banks and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday, October 24th. Finally, Wedbush assumed coverage on SunTrust Banks in a research note on Thursday, October 6th. They set a “neutral” rating and a $47.00 target price for the company. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have assigned a hold rating, fourteen have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $45.87.

Analyst Recommendations for SunTrust Banks (NYSE:STI)

SunTrust Banks (NYSE:STI) opened at 51.40 on Wednesday. SunTrust Banks has a 1-year low of $31.07 and a 1-year high of $52.65. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $46.10 and its 200-day moving average is $43.37. The firm has a market cap of $25.49 billion, a P/E ratio of 14.24 and a beta of 1.36.

SunTrust Banks (NYSE:STI) last announced its earnings results on Friday, October 21st. The financial services provider reported $0.91 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.88 by $0.03. SunTrust Banks had a return on equity of 8.18% and a net margin of 21.12%. The business earned $2.20 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.15 billion. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $1.00 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 8.4% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts forecast that SunTrust Banks will post $3.56 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, December 15th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, November 30th will be given a $0.26 dividend. This represents a $1.04 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.02%. The ex-dividend date is Monday, November 28th. SunTrust Banks’s dividend payout ratio is currently 28.89%.

In other news, SVP Thomas E. Panther sold 959 shares of SunTrust Banks stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, November 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $44.75, for a total transaction of $42,915.25. Following the sale, the senior vice president now owns 20,322 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $909,409.50. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, insider Susan S. Johnson sold 794 shares of SunTrust Banks stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, October 24th. The stock was sold at an average price of $45.58, for a total value of $36,190.52. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 1,947 shares in the company, valued at approximately $88,744.26. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.67% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. DNB Asset Management AS raised its stake in shares of SunTrust Banks by 1.9% in the second quarter. DNB Asset Management AS now owns 43,810 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $1,800,000 after buying an additional 800 shares in the last quarter. Washington Trust Bank raised its stake in shares of SunTrust Banks by 2.1% in the second quarter. Washington Trust Bank now owns 4,420 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $182,000 after buying an additional 90 shares in the last quarter. Fulton Bank N.A. raised its stake in shares of SunTrust Banks by 2.8% in the second quarter. Fulton Bank N.A. now owns 19,844 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $816,000 after buying an additional 543 shares in the last quarter. SevenBridge Financial Group LLC bought a new stake in shares of SunTrust Banks during the first quarter valued at approximately $1,240,000. Finally, BlueMountain Capital Management LLC raised its stake in shares of SunTrust Banks by 1,739.9% in the first quarter. BlueMountain Capital Management LLC now owns 15,345 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $554,000 after buying an additional 14,511 shares in the last quarter. 83.08% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

SunTrust Banks Company Profile

SunTrust Banks, Inc is a bank holding company and a financial holding company. Through its principal subsidiary, SunTrust Bank, the Company offers a line of financial services for consumers and businesses, including deposit, credit, mortgage banking, and trust and investment services. The Company’s other subsidiaries provide asset and wealth management, securities brokerage, and capital market services.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:STI

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