BancorpSouth, Inc. (NYSE:BXS) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued on Tuesday. The brokerage presently has a $34.00 price objective on the bank’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price target would indicate a potential upside of 12.03% from the stock’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Shares of BancorpSouth have outperformed the industry over the past year. The performance was supported by the company’s impressive earnings surprise history.  It surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in three of the trailing four quarters. Given a strong balance sheet position, the company has been steadily enhancing shareholders’ value through strategic acquisitions, dividend hikes and share buybacks. Notably, the company has entered into an Agreement and Plan of Reorganization whereby BancorpSouth will be merged with and into its wholly-owned bank subsidiary, BancorpSouth Bank. Further, its efforts to enhance non-interest income will go a long way in supporting the bottom line. Though, continued pressure on margin due to lower yields remains a major concern, BancorpSouth’s expense management initiatives keep us encouraged.”

A number of other brokerages have also issued reports on BXS. Piper Jaffray Companies reiterated a “hold” rating and set a $31.00 price target on shares of BancorpSouth in a research note on Friday, July 21st. BidaskClub lowered shares of BancorpSouth from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Monday, July 31st. Royal Bank of Canada reiterated a “hold” rating and set a $31.00 price target on shares of BancorpSouth in a research note on Friday, September 8th. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reiterated a “hold” rating and set a $32.00 price target on shares of BancorpSouth in a research note on Monday, June 5th. Finally, Jefferies Group LLC reiterated a “hold” rating and set a $33.00 price target on shares of BancorpSouth in a research note on Friday, July 14th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $32.67.

BancorpSouth (NYSE BXS) traded up 1.34% on Tuesday, hitting $30.35. 678,131 shares of the stock were exchanged. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $29.25 and its 200 day moving average price is $29.97. The firm has a market cap of $2.76 billion, a PE ratio of 18.69 and a beta of 1.40. BancorpSouth has a 52-week low of $22.23 and a 52-week high of $32.40.

BancorpSouth (NYSE:BXS) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, July 19th. The bank reported $0.42 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.40 by $0.02. The company had revenue of $185.61 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $187.78 million. BancorpSouth had a net margin of 19.46% and a return on equity of 8.77%. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $0.39 earnings per share. Equities research analysts forecast that BancorpSouth will post $1.66 earnings per share for the current year.

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Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in BXS. Russell Investments Group Ltd. grew its position in shares of BancorpSouth by 6.3% during the first quarter. Russell Investments Group Ltd. now owns 157,298 shares of the bank’s stock worth $4,759,000 after buying an additional 9,382 shares in the last quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund grew its position in shares of BancorpSouth by 1.4% during the first quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 29,467 shares of the bank’s stock worth $891,000 after buying an additional 400 shares in the last quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN grew its position in shares of BancorpSouth by 2.4% during the first quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 77,127 shares of the bank’s stock worth $2,333,000 after buying an additional 1,814 shares in the last quarter. Great West Life Assurance Co. Can grew its position in shares of BancorpSouth by 2.8% during the first quarter. Great West Life Assurance Co. Can now owns 48,479 shares of the bank’s stock worth $1,463,000 after buying an additional 1,340 shares in the last quarter. Finally, State Treasurer State of Michigan grew its position in shares of BancorpSouth by 1.2% during the first quarter. State Treasurer State of Michigan now owns 34,700 shares of the bank’s stock worth $1,050,000 after buying an additional 400 shares in the last quarter. 65.24% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About BancorpSouth

BancorpSouth, Inc is a financial holding company. The Company, through its principal bank subsidiary, BancorpSouth Bank (the Bank), conducts commercial banking and financial services operations in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas and Illinois. The Company’s segments include Community Banking, Insurance Agencies, and General Corporate and Other.

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