Associated Banc (ASB) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research

Associated Banc (NYSE:ASB) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report issued on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Associated Banc-Corp’s shares have underperformed the industry in the past six months. Yet, the company has an impressive earnings surprise history, having surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the trailing four quarters. The company’s fourth-quarter 2017 results benefited from higher net interest income and absence of provision for loan losses. Higher interest rates, rise in loan demand and improving asset quality will continue to support its profitability. Acquisitions of Bank Mutual and Whitnell will likely be accretive to its earnings. Also, lower tax rates are expected to help the company’s financials. However, mounting expenses are likely to hurt bottom-line growth. Also, the company's increased dependence on commercial loans remains a key near-term concern.”

A number of other research firms also recently commented on ASB. Barclays restated a “hold” rating and set a $28.00 price objective on shares of Associated Banc in a research note on Tuesday, January 30th. Piper Jaffray Companies reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $26.00 target price on shares of Associated Banc in a research note on Sunday, January 28th. SunTrust Banks set a $26.00 target price on shares of Associated Banc and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Saturday, October 21st. Finally, Morgan Stanley raised their target price on shares of Associated Banc from $25.50 to $28.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Wednesday, December 13th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating and eleven have issued a hold rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $26.30.

Associated Banc (NYSE:ASB) traded up $0.08 during trading on Tuesday, hitting $24.10. 1,650,000 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 1,440,000. Associated Banc has a one year low of $20.95 and a one year high of $26.70. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.10, a quick ratio of 0.89 and a current ratio of 0.90. The firm has a market cap of $3,660.00, a P/E ratio of 16.97, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.94 and a beta of 1.08.

Associated Banc (NYSE:ASB) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, January 25th. The bank reported $0.31 EPS for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.38 by ($0.07). Associated Banc had a return on equity of 8.05% and a net margin of 18.80%. The business had revenue of $272.00 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $281.38 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $0.34 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 5.8% on a year-over-year basis. analysts expect that Associated Banc will post 1.76 earnings per share for the current year.

In other Associated Banc news, CFO Moral-Niles Christopher Del sold 11,999 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, November 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $24.72, for a total transaction of $296,615.28. Following the completion of the sale, the chief financial officer now directly owns 81,092 shares in the company, valued at $2,004,594.24. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, insider Breck F. Hanson sold 11,373 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 22nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $24.92, for a total transaction of $283,415.16. Following the sale, the insider now owns 37,722 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $940,032.24. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 82,644 shares of company stock valued at $2,081,022 over the last quarter. 1.80% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of ASB. Landaas & Co. WI ADV lifted its position in Associated Banc by 98.8% during the fourth quarter. Landaas & Co. WI ADV now owns 4,208 shares of the bank’s stock worth $107,000 after acquiring an additional 2,091 shares during the last quarter. Chicago Partners Investment Group LLC acquired a new stake in Associated Banc during the third quarter worth approximately $157,000. Meeder Asset Management Inc. lifted its position in Associated Banc by 393.4% during the third quarter. Meeder Asset Management Inc. now owns 7,322 shares of the bank’s stock worth $178,000 after acquiring an additional 5,838 shares during the last quarter. Savant Capital LLC acquired a new stake in Associated Banc during the fourth quarter worth approximately $202,000. Finally, WoodTrust Financial Corp acquired a new stake in Associated Banc during the fourth quarter worth approximately $212,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 68.11% of the company’s stock.

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About Associated Banc

Associated Banc-Corp is a bank holding company. The Company, through its banking subsidiary Associated Bank, National Association (the Bank) and various nonbanking subsidiaries, provides a range of banking and non-banking products and services to individuals. The Company operates through three segments: Corporate and Commercial Specialty; Community, Consumer, and Business, and Risk Management and Shared Services.

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