Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of SunTrust Banks, Inc. (NYSE:STI) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Friday. Zacks Investment Research currently has $64.00 target price on the financial services provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “SunTrust’s shares have underperformed the industry in a year’s time. Yet, the company has an impressive earnings surprise history. It surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in all the trailing four quarters. Easing margin pressure, rise in loan demand, initiatives to enhance revenue growth and improve efficiency as well as expected rise in lending activates (owing to the potential lesser regulations) should support the company’s profitability. Given a solid capital position, the company is expected to continue enhancing shareholder value through efficient capital deployment activities. However, its significant exposure to commercial and residential loan portfolios remains a major near-term concern. Also, expectations of weaker mortgage business makes us apprehensive.”

STI has been the subject of several other reports. BidaskClub downgraded SunTrust Banks from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note on Saturday, June 24th. Morgan Stanley reaffirmed an underweight rating and set a $63.00 price objective (up from $62.00) on shares of SunTrust Banks in a research note on Tuesday, July 25th. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods set a $58.00 price objective on SunTrust Banks and gave the company a hold rating in a research note on Monday, June 5th. Wells Fargo & Company assumed coverage on SunTrust Banks in a research note on Wednesday, August 9th. They set an outperform rating and a $70.00 price objective for the company. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies reaffirmed a buy rating and set a $63.00 price objective on shares of SunTrust Banks in a research note on Monday, August 28th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have issued a hold rating and eleven have assigned a buy rating to the stock. SunTrust Banks presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $60.92.

Shares of SunTrust Banks (NYSE STI) opened at 57.47 on Friday. The company’s 50-day moving average price is $55.92 and its 200 day moving average price is $56.06. The firm has a market capitalization of $27.68 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 15.28 and a beta of 1.33. SunTrust Banks has a 12-month low of $42.36 and a 12-month high of $61.69.

SunTrust Banks (NYSE:STI) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Friday, July 21st. The financial services provider reported $1.03 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.98 by $0.05. The firm had revenue of $2.23 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.29 billion. SunTrust Banks had a return on equity of 8.48% and a net margin of 20.51%. The firm’s revenue was up 2.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $0.94 EPS. On average, equities research analysts forecast that SunTrust Banks will post $4.05 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, September 15th. Investors of record on Thursday, August 31st were issued a $0.40 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, August 29th. This represents a $1.60 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.78%. This is a boost from SunTrust Banks’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.26. SunTrust Banks’s dividend payout ratio is currently 42.67%.

SunTrust Banks announced that its Board of Directors has approved a share repurchase plan on Wednesday, June 28th that authorizes the company to buyback $1.32 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the financial services provider to reacquire up to 4.9% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are generally an indication that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

In other SunTrust Banks news, insider Susan S. Johnson sold 808 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, August 14th. The stock was sold at an average price of $57.34, for a total transaction of $46,330.72. Following the sale, the insider now owns 3,515 shares in the company, valued at approximately $201,550.10. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. 0.55% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

A number of large investors have recently made changes to their positions in STI. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America grew its holdings in SunTrust Banks by 1.0% during the 1st quarter. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America now owns 1,893 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $105,000 after buying an additional 18 shares during the last quarter. Fiduciary Trust Co. acquired a new stake in SunTrust Banks during the 2nd quarter valued at $118,000. Advisory Services Network LLC grew its holdings in SunTrust Banks by 0.9% during the 2nd quarter. Advisory Services Network LLC now owns 2,140 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $121,000 after buying an additional 20 shares during the last quarter. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. grew its holdings in SunTrust Banks by 9.2% during the 1st quarter. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. now owns 2,269 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $125,000 after buying an additional 192 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Westwood Holdings Group Inc. acquired a new stake in SunTrust Banks during the 2nd quarter valued at $136,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 81.19% of the company’s stock.

SunTrust Banks Company Profile

SunTrust Banks, Inc is a provider of financial services. The Company’s principal subsidiary is SunTrust Bank (the Bank). The Company’s business segments include Consumer Banking and Private Wealth Management, Wholesale Banking, Mortgage Banking and Corporate Other. As of December 31, 2016, the Consumer Banking and Private Wealth Management segment consisted of three primary businesses: Consumer Banking, Consumer Lending and Private Wealth Management.

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Analyst Recommendations for SunTrust Banks (NYSE:STI)

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