Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report published on Tuesday morning. Zacks Investment Research currently has $28.00 price objective on the financial services provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Fifth Third have underperformed the industry over the past six months. While estimates ahead of fourth-quarter 2018 earnings have remained stable lately, the company displays an impressive earnings surprise history, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate in all the trailing four quarters. The company’s ongoing strategic efforts, such as Project North Star, will likely boost its efficiency and revenues over the long run. Also, margin pressure seems to be easing gradually due to the Fed’s interest rate hikes and improving economic backdrop. However, elevated expenses on the company’s branch digitization initiative and legal issues remain headwinds. Also, significant exposure to commercial loans remains a concern. Nevertheless, its steady capital deployment activities keep us encouraged.”

Several other research analysts have also recently weighed in on FITB. BidaskClub upgraded Fifth Third Bancorp from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report on Tuesday, October 30th. Morgan Stanley lowered their price objective on Fifth Third Bancorp from $32.00 to $30.00 and set an equal weight rating on the stock in a research report on Tuesday, December 11th. Raymond James upgraded Fifth Third Bancorp from a market perform rating to an outperform rating and set a $30.00 price objective on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, October 31st. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Barclays lowered their price objective on Fifth Third Bancorp from $35.00 to $31.00 and set an equal weight rating on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, January 2nd. Finally, Stephens upgraded Fifth Third Bancorp from an equal weight rating to an overweight rating in a research report on Thursday, December 20th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have assigned a hold rating and six have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $31.75.

Fifth Third Bancorp stock traded up $0.13 during mid-day trading on Tuesday, hitting $25.05. 2,105,433 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 6,170,248. Fifth Third Bancorp has a fifty-two week low of $22.12 and a fifty-two week high of $34.67. The company has a market capitalization of $16.42 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 9.35, a P/E/G ratio of 1.28 and a beta of 1.24. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.00, a current ratio of 0.89 and a quick ratio of 0.88.

Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, October 23rd. The financial services provider reported $0.64 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.63 by $0.01. The business had revenue of $1.61 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.63 billion. Fifth Third Bancorp had a return on equity of 11.74% and a net margin of 28.89%. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $1.35 EPS. As a group, equities analysts anticipate that Fifth Third Bancorp will post 2.55 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 15th. Shareholders of record on Monday, December 31st will be given a $0.22 dividend. This represents a $0.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.51%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, December 28th. This is a boost from Fifth Third Bancorp’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.18. Fifth Third Bancorp’s payout ratio is currently 32.84%.

A number of institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP grew its position in Fifth Third Bancorp by 2.5% in the third quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 8,613,248 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $240,479,000 after acquiring an additional 212,416 shares during the last quarter. Schroder Investment Management Group boosted its stake in shares of Fifth Third Bancorp by 30.9% during the third quarter. Schroder Investment Management Group now owns 5,454,270 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $152,283,000 after purchasing an additional 1,287,708 shares in the last quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC boosted its stake in shares of Fifth Third Bancorp by 5.1% during the third quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 5,124,801 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $143,084,000 after purchasing an additional 249,267 shares in the last quarter. O Shaughnessy Asset Management LLC boosted its stake in shares of Fifth Third Bancorp by 12.1% during the third quarter. O Shaughnessy Asset Management LLC now owns 4,531,360 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $126,118,000 after purchasing an additional 487,973 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Pzena Investment Management LLC boosted its stake in shares of Fifth Third Bancorp by 2.8% during the third quarter. Pzena Investment Management LLC now owns 4,189,443 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $116,969,000 after purchasing an additional 113,728 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 81.85% of the company’s stock.

Fifth Third Bancorp Company Profile

Fifth Third Bancorp operates as a diversified financial services company in the United States. The company's Commercial Banking segment offers credit intermediation, cash management, and financial services; lending and depository products; and cash management, foreign exchange and international trade finance, derivatives and capital markets services, asset-based lending, real estate finance, public finance, commercial leasing, and syndicated finance for business, government, and professional customers.

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