SunTrust Banks Inc. (NYSE:STI) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Wednesday. The firm presently has a $49.00 target price on the financial services provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research’s price objective suggests a potential upside of 11.92% from the stock’s current price.

According to Zacks, “SunTrust’s cost saving strategies has borne positive results as it continues to witness a downward trend in expenses.  Further, the company remains well positioned for future growth given its improving credit quality. Also, the gradually stabilizing energy sector as well as economic recovery will aid the company’s credit quality. Moreover, the company's steady capital deployment activities enhance shareholder value. However, a persistent low interest rate scenario affects the company’s top line items. NIM will continue to remain under pressure unless there is any significant increase in interest rates. Also, exposure to risky assets and increasing dependence on residential and commercial loan portfolio is expected to weigh on the company’s profitability in the near term.”

Several other analysts have also weighed in on the stock. Sanford C. Bernstein lowered shares of SunTrust Banks from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and set a $43.00 target price for the company. in a research note on Tuesday, August 16th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Wells Fargo & Co. reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of SunTrust Banks in a research note on Sunday, July 10th. Robert W. Baird lowered shares of SunTrust Banks from a “neutral” rating to an “underperform” rating and lowered their target price for the company from $43.00 to $41.00 in a research note on Friday, July 15th. Barclays PLC reissued an “equal weight” rating and set a $46.00 price target on shares of SunTrust Banks in a report on Sunday, July 10th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group AG reissued a “sell” rating on shares of SunTrust Banks in a report on Tuesday, July 12th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have assigned a hold rating, thirteen have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. The stock has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $44.00.

Analyst Recommendations for SunTrust Banks (NYSE:STI)

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Shares of SunTrust Banks (NYSE:STI) opened at 43.78 on Wednesday. The company’s 50-day moving average is $43.04 and its 200-day moving average is $41.05. SunTrust Banks has a 52 week low of $31.07 and a 52 week high of $45.24. The firm has a market cap of $21.95 billion, a PE ratio of 11.85 and a beta of 1.31.

SunTrust Banks (NYSE:STI) last released its earnings results on Friday, July 22nd. The financial services provider reported $0.94 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.88 by $0.06. SunTrust Banks had a net margin of 22.31% and a return on equity of 8.53%. The firm earned $2.19 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.14 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $0.89 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 6.9% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts forecast that SunTrust Banks will post $3.51 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, September 15th. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, August 31st were issued a $0.26 dividend. This is an increase from SunTrust Banks’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.24. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Monday, August 29th. This represents a $1.04 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.38%. SunTrust Banks’s dividend payout ratio is currently 28.18%.

In related news, insider Susan S. Johnson sold 1,118 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, July 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $42.40, for a total value of $47,403.20. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 1,119 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $47,445.60. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this link. 0.67% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Several large investors have recently made changes to their positions in STI. Ngam Advisors L.P. boosted its stake in shares of SunTrust Banks by 33.7% in the first quarter. Ngam Advisors L.P. now owns 176,307 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $6,361,000 after buying an additional 44,395 shares during the last quarter. Pacad Investment Ltd. purchased a new stake in shares of SunTrust Banks during the first quarter valued at approximately $1,355,000. Bowling Portfolio Management LLC boosted its stake in shares of SunTrust Banks by 67.3% in the first quarter. Bowling Portfolio Management LLC now owns 145,202 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $5,239,000 after buying an additional 58,424 shares during the last quarter. IFP Advisors Inc boosted its stake in shares of SunTrust Banks by 1.4% in the first quarter. IFP Advisors Inc now owns 71,500 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $2,580,000 after buying an additional 987 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Virginia Retirement System purchased a new stake in shares of SunTrust Banks during the first quarter valued at approximately $3,585,000. 82.37% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

SunTrust Banks Company Profile

SunTrust Banks, Inc is a bank holding company and a financial holding company. Through its principal subsidiary, SunTrust Bank, the Company offers a line of financial services for consumers and businesses, including deposit, credit, mortgage banking, and trust and investment services. The Company’s other subsidiaries provide asset and wealth management, securities brokerage, and capital market services.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:STI

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