Trading Report: Today: SunTrust Banks Inc. (STI) Upgrade to “Buy” by The Zacks Investment Research

Today: SunTrust Banks Inc. (STI) Upgrade to “Buy” by The Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of SunTrust Banks Inc. (NYSE:STI) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report report published on Friday. The firm currently has $59.00 price objective on the financial services provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “SunTrust shares have outperformed the Zacks categorized Major Regional Banks industry over the last three months. Its initiatives to enhance revenues through growth in loan and deposit balances are impressive. In Oct 2016, the company announced a deal to buy Pillar Financial, which is likely to improve Wholesale Banking segment revenue by $90 million in 2017. Also, the gradually stabilizing energy sector will aid the company’s credit quality in the near term. However, continued pressure on margin in absence of notable rate hike, significant exposure to risky loan portfolios and stringent regulatory requirements are major cause of concerns.”

A number of other brokerages also recently issued reports on STI. Wedbush initiated coverage on shares of SunTrust Banks in a research report on Thursday, October 6th. They issued a neutral rating and a $47.00 price target on the stock. FBR & Co restated an outperform rating and issued a $49.00 price target on shares of SunTrust Banks in a research report on Tuesday, October 11th. Barclays PLC reiterated a hold rating and issued a $49.00 price objective on shares of SunTrust Banks in a research note on Monday, November 7th. Wells Fargo & Co. lowered shares of SunTrust Banks from an outperform rating to a market perform rating in a research note on Friday, November 18th. Finally, Compass Point lowered shares of SunTrust Banks from a buy rating to a neutral rating and lifted their price objective for the company from $48.00 to $54.00 in a research note on Wednesday, November 23rd. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have issued a hold rating, twelve have assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $46.13.

SunTrust Banks (NYSE:STI) opened at 52.20 on Friday. The firm has a market cap of $25.89 billion, a PE ratio of 14.46 and a beta of 1.36. SunTrust Banks has a one year low of $31.07 and a one year high of $52.65. The company’s 50-day moving average is $47.46 and its 200 day moving average is $43.85.

SunTrust Banks (NYSE:STI) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Friday, October 21st. The financial services provider reported $0.91 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.88 by $0.03. The firm had revenue of $2.20 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.15 billion. SunTrust Banks had a net margin of 21.12% and a return on equity of 8.18%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 8.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $1.00 EPS. Equities analysts anticipate that SunTrust Banks will post $3.57 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, December 15th. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, November 30th will be given a dividend of $0.26 per share. This represents a $1.04 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.98%. The ex-dividend date is Monday, November 28th. SunTrust Banks’s dividend payout ratio is presently 28.89%.

In related news, insider Susan S. Johnson sold 794 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, October 24th. The shares were sold at an average price of $45.58, for a total value of $36,190.52. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 1,947 shares in the company, valued at $88,744.26. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, insider Aleem Gillani sold 8,583 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, October 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $45.90, for a total transaction of $393,959.70. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 239,652 shares in the company, valued at $11,000,026.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.67% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of STI. Global X Management Co. LLC boosted its position in SunTrust Banks by 121.2% in the third quarter. Global X Management Co. LLC now owns 2,787 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $122,000 after buying an additional 1,527 shares during the period. TLP Group LLC acquired a new position in shares of SunTrust Banks during the third quarter worth approximately $128,000. MSI Financial Services Inc boosted its position in shares of SunTrust Banks by 66.2% in the third quarter. MSI Financial Services Inc now owns 3,010 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $132,000 after buying an additional 1,199 shares during the last quarter. AXA acquired a new position in shares of SunTrust Banks during the second quarter worth approximately $127,000. Finally, Amica Retiree Medical Trust acquired a new position in shares of SunTrust Banks during the second quarter worth approximately $129,000. Institutional investors own 81.23% of the company’s stock.

About SunTrust Banks

SunTrust Banks, Inc is a bank holding company and a financial holding company. Through its principal subsidiary, SunTrust Bank, the Company offers a line of financial services for consumers and businesses, including deposit, credit, mortgage banking, and trust and investment services. The Company’s other subsidiaries provide asset and wealth management, securities brokerage, and capital market services.

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