Citizens Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE:CFG) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued on Tuesday. The brokerage currently has a $37.00 price target on the bank’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price target indicates a potential upside of 6.66% from the company’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Citizens Financial have outperformed the industry year to date. This performance was supported by the company’s impressive earnings surprise history. It hasn’t missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in any of the trailing four quarters. It remains on track to implement TOP III efficiency initiatives, which are expected to boost earnings performance further. The company also launched TOP IV initiatives which are expected to achieve pre-tax benefit of $90-$105 million by the end of 2018. Following the Fed rate hikes so far, margin pressure seems to be easing. Also, the company continues to benefit from improving loans and deposit balances, and is well positioned to grow further as the U.S. economy is gaining traction. However, higher costs resulting from pending legal hassles remain a major concern.”

CFG has been the subject of several other research reports. BidaskClub upgraded shares of Citizens Financial Group from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Friday, August 25th. TheStreet cut shares of Citizens Financial Group from a “b-” rating to a “c” rating in a research report on Monday, June 26th. BMO Capital Markets reiterated a “market perform” rating and set a $39.00 price target (up previously from $38.00) on shares of Citizens Financial Group in a research report on Tuesday, July 25th. Deutsche Bank AG reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Citizens Financial Group in a research report on Wednesday, July 5th. Finally, Macquarie assumed coverage on shares of Citizens Financial Group in a research report on Thursday, May 18th. They set an “underperform” rating and a $33.00 price target for the company. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and seven have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Citizens Financial Group currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $35.06.

Shares of Citizens Financial Group (NYSE:CFG) opened at 34.69 on Tuesday. The firm has a market capitalization of $17.37 billion, a PE ratio of 14.81 and a beta of 1.32. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $34.04 and a 200 day moving average price of $35.36. Citizens Financial Group has a 52 week low of $23.81 and a 52 week high of $39.75.

Citizens Financial Group (NYSE:CFG) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Friday, July 21st. The bank reported $0.63 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.59 by $0.04. Citizens Financial Group had a net margin of 19.86% and a return on equity of 6.08%. The firm had revenue of $1.40 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.40 billion. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.46 EPS. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 9.2% on a year-over-year basis. Equities analysts forecast that Citizens Financial Group will post $2.53 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Citizens Financial Group announced that its Board of Directors has approved a share buyback program on Wednesday, June 28th that allows the company to repurchase $850.00 million in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization allows the bank to reacquire up to 4.8% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are usually an indication that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

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A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of CFG. JPMorgan Chase & Co. increased its holdings in shares of Citizens Financial Group by 2.4% in the first quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 16,827,697 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $581,396,000 after purchasing an additional 391,502 shares during the last quarter. Mitsubishi UFJ Trust & Banking Corp increased its holdings in shares of Citizens Financial Group by 4.4% in the second quarter. Mitsubishi UFJ Trust & Banking Corp now owns 1,133,028 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $40,426,000 after purchasing an additional 47,855 shares during the last quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Citizens Financial Group by 32.7% in the first quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 1,920,287 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $66,349,000 after purchasing an additional 473,580 shares during the last quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank increased its holdings in shares of Citizens Financial Group by 58.8% in the first quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank now owns 140,245 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $4,846,000 after purchasing an additional 51,911 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Bancorpsouth Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Citizens Financial Group by 0.9% in the first quarter. Bancorpsouth Inc. now owns 14,542 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $502,000 after purchasing an additional 131 shares during the last quarter. 96.86% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Citizens Financial Group

Citizens Financial Group, Inc is a retail bank holding company. The Company operates through two segments: Consumer Banking and Commercial Banking. Its Consumer Banking serves retail customers and small businesses. Consumer Banking products and services include deposit products, mortgage and home equity lending, auto financing, student loans, personal unsecured lines and loans, credit cards, business loans, wealth management and investment services.

Analyst Recommendations for Citizens Financial Group (NYSE:CFG)

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