Zacks Investment Research Downgrades Webster Financial (WBS) to Hold

Webster Financial (NYSE:WBS) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report issued on Saturday. They currently have a $63.00 price target on the financial services provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price target indicates a potential upside of 9.72% from the stock’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Webster Financial have outperformed the industry over the past six months. The performance was supported by the company’s impressive earnings surprise history. It hasn’t missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in any of the trailing four quarters.  Webster Financial’s consistent growth in loans and deposits will aid profitability. Also, top-line strength and ample liquidity keep us encouraged. Notably, following the recent Fed interest rate hike, the company raised its prime lending rate to 4.50% from 4.25%, which will further support revenue growth. Its efforts to strengthen HSA Bank segment bode well for the long term. However, consistently rising cost base remains a major concern. Also, significant exposure to commercial loans could pose a threat to its financials.”

A number of other research firms have also recently commented on WBS. Deutsche Bank boosted their price target on Webster Financial from $51.00 to $53.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, November 8th. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $71.00 price target on shares of Webster Financial in a report on Friday, December 22nd. ValuEngine cut Webster Financial from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, November 14th. Barclays boosted their price target on Webster Financial from $55.00 to $59.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a report on Tuesday. Finally, Boenning Scattergood reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Webster Financial in a report on Friday, October 20th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $58.11.

Shares of Webster Financial (NYSE WBS) traded up $1.10 during trading hours on Friday, hitting $57.42. The company had a trading volume of 639,465 shares, compared to its average volume of 590,752. The company has a market cap of $5,581.29, a P/E ratio of 22.70, a PEG ratio of 2.42 and a beta of 1.22. The company has a current ratio of 0.81, a quick ratio of 0.81 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.69. Webster Financial has a 52 week low of $44.04 and a 52 week high of $59.25.

Webster Financial (NYSE:WBS) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 19th. The financial services provider reported $0.67 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.64 by $0.03. The company had revenue of $266.75 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $269.03 million. Webster Financial had a return on equity of 9.89% and a net margin of 21.09%. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $0.54 EPS. research analysts predict that Webster Financial will post 2.6 EPS for the current year.

In other news, Director Karen R. Osar sold 12,923 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, October 31st. The stock was sold at an average price of $54.70, for a total transaction of $706,888.10. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 36,984 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,023,024.80. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, Chairman James Copenhaver Smith sold 8,943 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, October 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $55.93, for a total value of $500,181.99. Following the sale, the chairman now directly owns 316,103 shares in the company, valued at $17,679,640.79. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders sold 36,107 shares of company stock worth $1,988,452. 2.20% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. GSA Capital Partners LLP purchased a new stake in shares of Webster Financial during the 3rd quarter worth approximately $202,000. Sterling Capital Management LLC raised its holdings in shares of Webster Financial by 0.6% during the 3rd quarter. Sterling Capital Management LLC now owns 551,847 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $29,000,000 after acquiring an additional 3,280 shares in the last quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System raised its holdings in shares of Webster Financial by 1.5% during the 3rd quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 198,074 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $10,409,000 after acquiring an additional 2,921 shares in the last quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC purchased a new stake in shares of Webster Financial during the 3rd quarter worth approximately $54,672,000. Finally, Grandeur Peak Global Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Webster Financial during the 3rd quarter worth approximately $684,000. 86.77% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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About Webster Financial

Webster Financial Corporation is a bank and financial holding company. The Company’s segments include Commercial Banking, Community Banking, HSA Bank, Private Banking, and Corporate and Reconciling. The Commercial Banking segment includes middle-market, asset-based lending, commercial real estate, equipment finance, and treasury and payment solutions, which includes government and institutional banking.

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