Associated Banc-Corp (NYSE:ASB) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report issued on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Estimates have been stable lately ahead of Associated Banc-Corp’s third-quarter 2016 earnings release. Further, the company has a positive record of earnings surprises in the recent quarters. Moreover, the company is expected to continue witnessing organic growth, driven by solid growth in loans and deposits. Also, improvement in economic conditions should further aid enhancement of the company’s asset quality. In addition, the company’s branch consolidation efforts and inorganic growth strategy will enhance profitability. However, pressure on NIM due to low interest rate environment remains major near term headwind. Furthermore, persistently elevated expenses levels, increased dependence on commercial loans add to the woes. Also, lack of geographic exposure can adversely affect its financial performance if the regional economy starts faltering.”

A number of other equities analysts also recently issued reports on the stock. Barclays PLC increased their price objective on shares of Associated Banc-Corp from $19.00 to $20.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Tuesday, August 16th. Jefferies Group reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Associated Banc-Corp in a research note on Monday, August 1st. Finally, DA Davidson started coverage on shares of Associated Banc-Corp in a research note on Monday. They set an “underperform” rating and a $18.00 price objective on the stock. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have given a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $19.38.

Analyst Recommendations for Associated Banc-Corp (NYSE:ASB)

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Shares of Associated Banc-Corp (NYSE:ASB) traded down 0.56% during trading on Friday, hitting $19.55. The stock had a trading volume of 213,511 shares. The firm’s 50 day moving average is $19.58 and its 200 day moving average is $18.36. Associated Banc-Corp has a 1-year low of $15.45 and a 1-year high of $20.90. The company has a market cap of $2.90 billion, a PE ratio of 16.85 and a beta of 1.32.

Associated Banc-Corp (NYSE:ASB) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 21st. The company reported $0.31 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.31. Associated Banc-Corp had a net margin of 16.73% and a return on equity of 6.44%. Equities research analysts anticipate that Associated Banc-Corp will post $1.23 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, September 15th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, September 1st were given a dividend of $0.11 per share. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, August 30th. This represents a $0.44 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.24%. Associated Banc-Corp’s payout ratio is currently 37.93%.

In other news, CEO Philip B. Flynn sold 10,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, August 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $18.61, for a total transaction of $186,100.00. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 129,735 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,414,368.35. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, Director John B. Williams purchased 2,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, September 8th. The shares were bought at an average cost of $19.85 per share, for a total transaction of $39,700.00. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Company insiders own 2.09% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. State Street Corp boosted its position in Associated Banc-Corp by 3.0% in the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 6,356,937 shares of the company’s stock worth $114,052,000 after buying an additional 185,248 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. boosted its position in Associated Banc-Corp by 21.3% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 67,882 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,217,000 after buying an additional 11,902 shares during the period. Prudential Financial Inc. boosted its position in Associated Banc-Corp by 14.3% in the first quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. now owns 862,581 shares of the company’s stock worth $15,475,000 after buying an additional 108,154 shares during the period. Norges Bank bought a new position in Associated Banc-Corp during the fourth quarter worth $38,369,000. Finally, Dimensional Fund Advisors LP boosted its position in Associated Banc-Corp by 13.5% in the second quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 10,532,443 shares of the company’s stock worth $180,628,000 after buying an additional 1,255,448 shares during the period. 74.28% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Associated Banc-Corp

Associated Banc-Corp is a bank holding company. The Company, through its banking subsidiary Associated Bank, National Association (the Bank) and various nonbanking subsidiaries, provides a range of banking and nonbanking products and services to individuals. The Company operates through three segments: Corporate and Commercial Specialty; Community, Consumer, and Business, and Risk Management and Shared Services.

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