Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Friday.

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.”

FITB has been the topic of several other research reports. UBS AG reiterated a “sell” rating and issued a $26.00 price objective (up previously from $25.00) on shares of Fifth Third Bancorp in a report on Friday, October 6th. Sanford C. Bernstein reiterated a “market perform” rating and issued a $31.00 price objective (up previously from $29.00) on shares of Fifth Third Bancorp in a report on Saturday, September 16th. Jefferies Group LLC reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $28.00 price objective on shares of Fifth Third Bancorp in a report on Friday, August 11th. Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Fifth Third Bancorp in a report on Saturday, July 22nd. Finally, Instinet reiterated a “neutral” rating and issued a $29.00 price objective (up previously 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, nineteen have issued a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $28.13.

Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Friday, July 21st. The financial services provider reported $0.45 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.42 by $0.03. The business had revenue of $1.51 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.52 billion. Fifth Third Bancorp had a return on equity of 10.44% and a net margin of 21.83%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up .1% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $0.40 EPS.

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

COPYRIGHT VIOLATION WARNING: This news story was first posted by American Banking News and is the property of of American Banking News. If you are accessing this news story on another publication, it was illegally copied and republished in violation of United States & international copyright & trademark legislation. The legal version of this news story can be viewed at https://www.americanbankingnews.com/2017/10/13/fifth-third-bancorp-fitb-downgraded-by-zacks-investment-research-to-hold.html.

In other news, EVP Frank R. Forrest sold 7,004 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, August 18th. The stock was sold at an average price of $26.21, for a total value of $183,574.84. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 71,793 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,881,694.53. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Corporate insiders own 0.38% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Global X Management Co. LLC increased its holdings in shares of Fifth Third Bancorp by 117.7% in the 2nd quarter. Global X Management Co. LLC now owns 6,234 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $110,000 after acquiring an additional 3,371 shares during the last quarter. Brick & Kyle Associates boosted its position in shares of Fifth Third Bancorp by 46.1% in the 1st quarter. Brick & Kyle Associates now owns 6,660 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $111,000 after purchasing an additional 2,100 shares during the period. Acrospire Investment Management LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Fifth Third Bancorp in the 1st quarter valued at about $112,000. Advisory Services Network LLC boosted its position in shares of Fifth Third Bancorp by 153.2% in the 2nd quarter. Advisory Services Network LLC now owns 6,375 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $112,000 after purchasing an additional 3,857 shares during the period. Finally, Duncker Streett & Co. Inc. boosted its position in shares of Fifth Third Bancorp by 0.3% in the 2nd quarter. Duncker Streett & Co. Inc. now owns 6,419 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $113,000 after purchasing an additional 20 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 79.58% of the company’s stock.

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.

Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB)

For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com

Analyst Recommendations for Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB)

Receive News & Ratings for Fifth Third Bancorp Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for Fifth Third Bancorp and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.