Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Fifth Third have outperformed the industry over the past six months. The performance was supported by the company’s impressive earnings surprise history. It surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in three of the trailing four quarters. The company’s ongoing strategic efforts, such as Project North Star, will likely boost its efficiency and revenue over the long run. Also, margin pressure seems to be easing gradually, given the Fed interest rate hikes and improving economic backdrop. Fifth Third’s growing deposits base look encouraging. However, elevated expenses on the company’s branch digitization initiative and legal issues remain a concern.”

A number of other equities analysts have also recently weighed in on FITB. Citigroup Inc. reaffirmed a “neutral” rating and set a $31.00 price target (up from $28.00) on shares of Fifth Third Bancorp in a research note on Monday, October 9th. BidaskClub cut shares of Fifth Third Bancorp from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Saturday, August 12th. Robert W. Baird cut shares of Fifth Third Bancorp from a “neutral” rating to an “underperform” rating and set a $24.00 price target on the stock. in a research note on Monday, October 2nd. UBS AG reaffirmed a “sell” rating and set a $26.00 price target (up from $25.00) on shares of Fifth Third Bancorp in a research note on Friday, October 6th. Finally, Nomura upped their price target on shares of Fifth Third Bancorp from $28.00 to $29.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a research note on Thursday, September 28th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nineteen have issued a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $28.13.

Shares of Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ FITB) traded down 0.32% during mid-day trading on Friday, hitting $28.06. 7,080,182 shares of the stock traded hands. Fifth Third Bancorp has a 12-month low of $19.57 and a 12-month high of $28.97. The firm has a market cap of $20.67 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 14.22 and a beta of 1.37. The firm’s 50 day moving average price is $27.04 and its 200 day moving average price is $25.80.

Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Friday, July 21st. The financial services provider reported $0.45 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.42 by $0.03. Fifth Third Bancorp had a net margin of 21.83% and a return on equity of 10.44%. The business had revenue of $1.51 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.52 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.40 EPS. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up .1% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts predict that Fifth Third Bancorp will post $1.83 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Fifth Third Bancorp declared that its Board of Directors has authorized a stock buyback program on Wednesday, June 28th that authorizes the company to buyback $1.16 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the financial services provider to repurchase up to 67% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are generally an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

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In other news, EVP Frank R. Forrest sold 7,004 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, August 18th. The shares were sold at an average price of $26.21, for a total transaction of $183,574.84. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 71,793 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,881,694.53. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Corporate insiders own 0.38% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Sun Life Financial INC lifted its holdings in shares of Fifth Third Bancorp by 55,050.0% during the 2nd quarter. Sun Life Financial INC now owns 5,515 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $143,000 after acquiring an additional 5,505 shares during the period. Sterling Investment Advisors Ltd. lifted its holdings in shares of Fifth Third Bancorp by 20.8% during the 1st quarter. Sterling Investment Advisors Ltd. now owns 5,800 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $147,000 after acquiring an additional 1,000 shares during the period. Ullmann Financial Group Inc. purchased a new position in shares of Fifth Third Bancorp during the 1st quarter worth about $167,000. Duncker Streett & Co. Inc. lifted its holdings in shares of Fifth Third Bancorp by 0.3% during the 2nd quarter. Duncker Streett & Co. Inc. now owns 6,491 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $168,000 after acquiring an additional 17 shares during the period. Finally, Cornerstone Advisors Inc. lifted its holdings in shares of Fifth Third Bancorp by 14.2% during the 2nd quarter. Cornerstone Advisors Inc. now owns 6,811 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $177,000 after acquiring an additional 847 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 79.58% of the company’s stock.

About Fifth Third Bancorp

Fifth Third Bancorp is a bank holding company and a financial holding company. The Company conducts its principal lending, deposit gathering, transaction processing and service advisory activities through its banking and non-banking subsidiaries from banking centers located throughout the Midwestern and Southeastern regions of the United States.

Analyst Recommendations for Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB)

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