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Commerce Bancshares (NASDAQ:CBSH) was upgraded by equities research analysts at Morgan Stanley from an “underweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating in a research note issued to investors on Monday, Analyst Ratings Net reports. The firm currently has a $43.00 price objective on the stock. Morgan Stanley’s price target would indicate a potential downside of 2.23% from the company’s current price.

The analysts wrote, “When we downgraded CBSH in November 2012, our primary concern was that NIM compression and lack of earning asset growth would drive NII materially lower,” the report said. “Asset growth has been weak, but NIM has proven much more stable than we expected. From here, we see above-peer loan growth of 7.8% (ex. M&A) on continued commercial share gains and solid consumer growth, and easing NIM pressure (down just 5 bps in 2014, excluding the volatile TIPS income). Net interest income in 2014 should be mostly flat, an improvement from down 3.1% in 2013.” Some highlights from the report included: -”The CBSH shares lagged the group by 689 bps in 2013, despite upward revisions to our 2014 EPS on improving loan growth.”-Reducing 4Q13e EPS by $0.01 to $0.71-”Auto loan demand is strong and CBSH has been retaining resi mortgages, which we expect will help drive above-peer loan growth of 7.8% (ex. M&A) in 2014.”

Commerce Bancshares (NASDAQ:CBSH) traded up 0.39% on Monday, hitting $44.15. 194,771 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. Commerce Bancshares has a 52-week low of $34.2857 and a 52-week high of $45.7714. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $44.68 and its 200-day moving average is $43.22. The company has a market cap of $4.232 billion and a price-to-earnings ratio of 16.14.

Commerce Bancshares (NASDAQ:CBSH) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, October 15th. The company reported $0.75 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters consensus estimate of $0.72 by $0.03. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $0.71 earnings per share. On average, analysts predict that Commerce Bancshares will post $2.75 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

A number of other firms have also recently commented on CBSH. Analysts at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods cut their price target on shares of Commerce Bancshares from $43.00 to $41.00 in a research note to investors on Monday, December 16th. Separately, analysts at Zacks reiterated a “neutral” rating on shares of Commerce Bancshares in a research note to investors on Tuesday, November 26th. They now have a $50.00 price target on the stock. Finally, analysts at Jefferies Group raised their price target on shares of Commerce Bancshares from $44.00 to $45.00 in a research note to investors on Friday, October 18th. They now have a “hold” rating on the stock. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have given a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $44.86.

Commerce Bancshares, Inc is a bank holding company. Through a wholly owned bank holding company, it owns all of the outstanding capital stock of Commerce Bank (NASDAQ:CBSH).

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