BancorpSouth, Inc. (NYSE:BXS) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report released on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of BancorpSouth have outperformed the industry over the past six months. 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, share buybacks and excellent expense management initiatives. However, continued pressure on margin due to lower yields is expected to hurt the bank’s bottom-line growth. The company’s exposure to consumer mortgage and commercial real estate loans also continues to be a near-term concern. Further, a stretched valuation indicates limited upside potential for the stock.”

Several other equities research analysts have also commented on the stock. BidaskClub lowered shares of BancorpSouth from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Saturday, June 24th. Brean Capital reissued a “hold” rating on shares of BancorpSouth in a research note on Thursday, July 20th. ValuEngine raised shares of BancorpSouth from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, June 20th. Jefferies Group LLC reissued a “hold” rating and set a $33.00 price objective on shares of BancorpSouth in a research note on Friday, July 14th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies reissued a “hold” rating and set a $31.00 price objective on shares of BancorpSouth in a research note on Friday, July 21st. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have assigned a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $32.67.

BancorpSouth (BXS) traded down 1.23% during midday trading on Wednesday, hitting $32.10. 607,987 shares of the company were exchanged. The firm has a market capitalization of $2.92 billion, a PE ratio of 19.77 and a beta of 1.43. BancorpSouth has a 1-year low of $22.23 and a 1-year high of $32.70. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $30.33 and a 200 day moving average of $30.07.

BancorpSouth (NYSE:BXS) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, July 19th. The bank reported $0.42 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.40 by $0.02. BancorpSouth had a net margin of 19.46% and a return on equity of 8.77%. The business had revenue of $185.61 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $187.78 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $0.39 earnings per share. On average, equities analysts predict that BancorpSouth will post $1.66 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Riverhead Capital Management LLC lifted its stake in shares of BancorpSouth by 92.5% in the second quarter. Riverhead Capital Management LLC now owns 3,657 shares of the bank’s stock worth $112,000 after buying an additional 1,757 shares in the last quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank lifted its stake in shares of BancorpSouth by 9.0% in the second quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank now owns 3,841 shares of the bank’s stock worth $117,000 after buying an additional 316 shares in the last quarter. Sei Investments Co. lifted its stake in shares of BancorpSouth by 124.2% in the first quarter. Sei Investments Co. now owns 4,510 shares of the bank’s stock worth $136,000 after buying an additional 2,498 shares in the last quarter. US Bancorp DE lifted its stake in shares of BancorpSouth by 16.0% in the first quarter. US Bancorp DE now owns 5,148 shares of the bank’s stock worth $155,000 after buying an additional 711 shares in the last quarter. Finally, LS Investment Advisors LLC lifted its stake in shares of BancorpSouth by 15.8% in the second quarter. LS Investment Advisors LLC now owns 6,615 shares of the bank’s stock worth $202,000 after buying an additional 901 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 65.24% of the company’s stock.

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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