Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of E*TRADE Financial (NASDAQ:ETFC) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report released on Thursday morning. They currently have $52.00 target price on the financial services provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Shares of E*TRADE have outperformed the industry over the past three months. Also, estimates have been revised upward ahead of the company's fourth quarter 2018 earnings release. Further, the company has an impressive earnings surprise history. It surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in each of the trailing four quarters. The company’s several restructuring measures and balance-sheet growth plans keep us encouraged. Also, E*TRADE’s focus on core operations and strategic initiatives will likely lead to an improved top-line performance. However, intense competition and rising costs can have an adverse impact on the company’s customer base and consequently on its profitability. Nevertheless, rising interest rates environment continues to support E*TRADE's interest income.”

Several other brokerages also recently issued reports on ETFC. BidaskClub upgraded E*TRADE Financial from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report on Saturday, November 3rd. Raymond James downgraded E*TRADE Financial from a strong-buy rating to an outperform rating and set a $64.00 price objective for the company. in a research report on Tuesday, October 30th. Credit Suisse Group restated an outperform rating on shares of E*TRADE Financial in a research report on Thursday, November 15th. Jefferies Financial Group upgraded E*TRADE Financial from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $65.00 price objective for the company in a research report on Wednesday, September 19th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Finally, Goldman Sachs Group began coverage on E*TRADE Financial in a report on Friday, November 30th. They issued a buy rating and a $64.00 price target for the company. Three analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and seventeen have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $62.24.

Shares of E*TRADE Financial stock traded up $0.22 during trading on Thursday, hitting $47.88. 1,348,686 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 2,306,573. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.32, a current ratio of 0.28 and a quick ratio of 0.28. E*TRADE Financial has a fifty-two week low of $40.41 and a fifty-two week high of $66.46. The company has a market capitalization of $12.07 billion, a P/E ratio of 21.86, a P/E/G ratio of 0.67 and a beta of 1.19.

E*TRADE Financial (NASDAQ:ETFC) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 18th. The financial services provider reported $1.00 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.83 by $0.17. E*TRADE Financial had a return on equity of 15.45% and a net margin of 32.83%. The firm had revenue of $720.00 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $710.62 million. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $0.49 EPS. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 20.2% compared to the same quarter last year. As a group, research analysts expect that E*TRADE Financial will post 3.87 EPS for the current fiscal year.

E*TRADE Financial declared that its Board of Directors has authorized a stock buyback plan on Thursday, October 18th that allows the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization allows the financial services provider to repurchase up to 7.7% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are generally a sign that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.

In related news, Chairman Rodger A. Lawson acquired 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, November 2nd. The stock was bought at an average cost of $51.26 per share, with a total value of $256,300.00. Following the purchase, the chairman now directly owns 109,191 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $5,597,130.66. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, CFO Michael A. Pizzi acquired 10,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, November 2nd. The shares were bought at an average cost of $51.67 per share, with a total value of $516,700.00. Following the completion of the purchase, the chief financial officer now directly owns 88,171 shares in the company, valued at $4,555,795.57. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders acquired a total of 37,668 shares of company stock valued at $1,912,154 over the last quarter. 0.12% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. FMR LLC grew its stake in shares of E*TRADE Financial by 10.5% during the 2nd quarter. FMR LLC now owns 15,313,266 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $936,560,000 after buying an additional 1,452,296 shares during the period. Primecap Management Co. CA boosted its position in E*TRADE Financial by 1.9% during the 3rd quarter. Primecap Management Co. CA now owns 13,115,825 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $687,138,000 after purchasing an additional 238,300 shares during the period. First Trust Advisors LP boosted its position in E*TRADE Financial by 23.3% during the 3rd quarter. First Trust Advisors LP now owns 4,659,032 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $244,087,000 after purchasing an additional 879,210 shares during the period. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC boosted its position in E*TRADE Financial by 2.3% during the 3rd quarter. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC now owns 3,131,100 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $164,038,000 after purchasing an additional 71,481 shares during the period. Finally, Putnam Investments LLC boosted its position in E*TRADE Financial by 15.9% during the 2nd quarter. Putnam Investments LLC now owns 2,849,752 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $174,291,000 after purchasing an additional 391,772 shares during the period. 93.96% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About E*TRADE Financial

E*TRADE Financial Corporation, a financial services company, provides brokerage and related products and services primarily to individual retail investors under the E*TRADE Financial brand. It also offers investor-focused banking products, primarily sweep deposits to retail investors; Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation insurance services; clearing and settlement services; investment advisory services; and financial corporate services, such as software and services for managing equity compensation plans to its corporate clients.

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