Columbia Banking System Inc (NASDAQ:COLB) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued on Monday. The firm presently has a $45.00 price objective on the financial services provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research’s price objective would indicate a potential upside of 14.18% from the stock’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Columbia Banking System, Inc. is a registered bank holding company whose wholly owned subsidiary, Columbia State Bank,conducts a full-service commercial banking business. Headquartered in Tacoma, Washington, the Company provides a full range of banking services to small and medium-sized businesses, professionals and other individuals through banking offices located in the Tacoma metropolitan area and contiguous parts of the Puget Sound region of Washington, as well as the Longview and Woodland communities in southwestern Washington. “

Separately, DA Davidson upgraded Columbia Banking System from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $45.00 price target for the company in a research note on Thursday.

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Shares of Columbia Banking System (NASDAQ:COLB) traded down 2.21% during trading on Monday, hitting $39.41. The stock had a trading volume of 385,564 shares. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $39.92 and its 200 day moving average price is $38.01. Columbia Banking System has a 52 week low of $26.17 and a 52 week high of $45.68. The company has a market capitalization of $2.29 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 21.81 and a beta of 1.32.

Columbia Banking System (NASDAQ:COLB) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, January 26th. The financial services provider reported $0.53 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.49 by $0.04. The business earned $108.07 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $111.40 million. Columbia Banking System had a return on equity of 8.44% and a net margin of 24.61%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 1.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $0.46 EPS. Analysts predict that Columbia Banking System will post $2.00 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, February 22nd. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, February 8th were paid a dividend of $0.22 per share. The ex-dividend date was Monday, February 6th. This represents a $0.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.23%. This is an increase from Columbia Banking System’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.20. Columbia Banking System’s payout ratio is 48.62%.

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In other Columbia Banking System news, CAO Barry Ray sold 981 shares of Columbia Banking System stock in a transaction dated Friday, March 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $39.42, for a total transaction of $38,671.02. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief accounting officer now owns 12,000 shares in the company, valued at approximately $473,040. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. 1.07% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Royal Bank of Canada increased its position in Columbia Banking System by 9.8% in the second quarter. Royal Bank of Canada now owns 191,583 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $5,376,000 after buying an additional 17,090 shares during the period. Naples Global Advisors LLC increased its position in Columbia Banking System by 22.6% in the third quarter. Naples Global Advisors LLC now owns 9,655 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $316,000 after buying an additional 1,780 shares during the period. Eagle Boston Investment Management Inc. increased its position in Columbia Banking System by 0.8% in the third quarter. Eagle Boston Investment Management Inc. now owns 86,172 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $2,819,000 after buying an additional 647 shares during the period. Capstone Asset Management Co. increased its position in Columbia Banking System by 1.6% in the third quarter. Capstone Asset Management Co. now owns 15,990 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $523,000 after buying an additional 250 shares during the period. Finally, Nisa Investment Advisors LLC increased its position in Columbia Banking System by 41.8% in the third quarter. Nisa Investment Advisors LLC now owns 42,100 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $1,378,000 after buying an additional 12,400 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 91.28% of the company’s stock.

About Columbia Banking System

Columbia Banking System, Inc is a bank holding company of Columbia State Bank (the Bank) and West Coast Trust Company, Inc The Company provides a range of banking services to small and medium-sized businesses, professionals and individuals throughout Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The Bank provides a range of financial services through approximately 150 branch locations in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

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