Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB) 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 currently has a $32.00 price target on the financial services provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price would suggest a potential upside of 13.23% from the company’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Fifth Third 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. The company’s ongoing strategic efforts, such as Project North Star, will likely boost its efficiency and revenue over the long run. Also, margin pressure seems to be easing gradually, given the Fed interest rate hikes and improving economic backdrop. Fifth Third’s growing deposits base look encouraging. However, elevated expenses on the company’s branch digitization initiative and legal issues remain a concern.”

Several other equities research analysts also recently issued reports on the company. Citigroup Inc. restated a “neutral” rating and set a $31.00 price objective (up from $28.00) on shares of Fifth Third Bancorp in a report on Monday. UBS AG restated a “sell” rating and set a $26.00 price objective (up from $25.00) on shares of Fifth Third Bancorp in a report on Friday, October 6th. BMO Capital Markets restated a “hold” rating and set a $29.00 price objective on shares of Fifth Third Bancorp in a report on Thursday, October 5th. Robert W. Baird downgraded Fifth Third Bancorp from a “neutral” rating to an “underperform” rating and set a $24.00 price objective on the stock. in a report on Monday, October 2nd. Finally, Instinet restated a “neutral” rating and set a $29.00 price objective (up from $28.00) on shares of Fifth Third Bancorp in a report on Saturday, September 30th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eighteen have issued a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $28.13.

Shares of Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB) traded down 0.56% during trading on Wednesday, reaching $28.26. The company had a trading volume of 2,833,989 shares. The company has a market capitalization of $20.82 billion, a P/E ratio of 14.32 and a beta of 1.37. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $26.95 and a 200-day moving average price of $25.75. Fifth Third Bancorp has a 52-week low of $19.57 and a 52-week high of $28.97.

Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Friday, July 21st. The financial services provider reported $0.45 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.42 by $0.03. Fifth Third Bancorp had a return on equity of 10.44% and a net margin of 21.83%. The company had revenue of $1.51 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.52 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $0.40 EPS. Fifth Third Bancorp’s revenue for the quarter was up .1% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts predict that Fifth Third Bancorp will post $1.83 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Fifth Third Bancorp declared that its board has initiated a share buyback plan on Wednesday, June 28th that authorizes the company to buyback $1.16 billion in shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the financial services provider to reacquire up to 67% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are often a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

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In other Fifth Third Bancorp news, EVP Frank R. Forrest sold 7,004 shares of Fifth Third Bancorp stock in a transaction on Friday, August 18th. The stock was sold at an average price of $26.21, for a total transaction of $183,574.84. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 71,793 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,881,694.53. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Insiders own 0.38% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Prudential Financial Inc. raised its stake in Fifth Third Bancorp by 1.5% during the 2nd quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. now owns 2,234,087 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $57,997,000 after acquiring an additional 33,660 shares in the last quarter. Gotham Asset Management LLC bought a new stake in Fifth Third Bancorp during the 1st quarter valued at $303,000. Cornerstone Advisors Inc. raised its stake in Fifth Third Bancorp by 14.2% during the 2nd quarter. Cornerstone Advisors Inc. now owns 6,811 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $177,000 after acquiring an additional 847 shares in the last quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. raised its stake in Fifth Third Bancorp by 4.9% during the 2nd quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 1,472,742 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $38,232,000 after acquiring an additional 68,859 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Capital Fund Management S.A. raised its stake in Fifth Third Bancorp by 69.8% during the 2nd quarter. Capital Fund Management S.A. now owns 321,226 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $8,339,000 after acquiring an additional 132,047 shares in the last quarter. 79.58% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Fifth Third Bancorp Company Profile

Fifth Third Bancorp is a bank holding company and a financial holding company. The Company conducts its principal lending, deposit gathering, transaction processing and service advisory activities through its banking and non-banking subsidiaries from banking centers located throughout the Midwestern and Southeastern regions of the United States.

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Analyst Recommendations for Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB)

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