Zacks Investment Research Lowers BancorpSouth, Inc. (BXS) to Sell

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of BancorpSouth, Inc. (NYSE:BXS) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report report published on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “BancorpSouth’s shares underperformed the Zacks categorized Southeast Banks industry over the past six months. The company’s initiatives to enhance non-interest income and control costs will go a long way in supporting the bottom line. Further, given a strong balance sheet position, the company has been steadily enhancing shareholders’ value through strategic acquisitions, dividend hikes and share buybacks. However, continued pressure on margin remains a major concern for the company. Also, a stringent regulatory landscape may limit the company’s business operational flexibility and growth opportunities.”

A number of other equities analysts have also commented on BXS. Raymond James Financial, Inc. raised shares of BancorpSouth from an underperform rating to a market perform rating in a report on Thursday, December 22nd. Piper Jaffray Companies assumed coverage on shares of BancorpSouth in a report on Thursday, March 9th. They issued a neutral rating and a $30.00 price target on the stock. Stephens raised shares of BancorpSouth from an equal weight rating to an overweight rating in a report on Wednesday, December 21st. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods lowered shares of BancorpSouth from an outperform rating to a market perform rating and increased their price target for the stock from $25.00 to $30.00 in a report on Tuesday, November 29th. Finally, JMP Securities assumed coverage on shares of BancorpSouth in a report on Thursday, February 2nd. They issued a market perform rating on the stock. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have issued a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. BancorpSouth has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $26.80.

Analyst Recommendations for BancorpSouth (NYSE:BXS)

BancorpSouth (NYSE:BXS) opened at 31.30 on Wednesday. The firm has a market cap of $2.93 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 22.21 and a beta of 1.33. BancorpSouth has a 12-month low of $20.19 and a 12-month high of $32.40. The company has a 50-day moving average of $30.86 and a 200 day moving average of $27.85.

BancorpSouth (NYSE:BXS) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, January 25th. The company reported $0.40 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.37 by $0.03. BancorpSouth had a net margin of 17.41% and a return on equity of 8.70%. During the same period last year, the business posted $0.33 EPS. Equities analysts expect that BancorpSouth will post $1.62 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, April 3rd. Investors of record on Wednesday, March 15th will be issued a dividend of $0.125 per share. This represents a $0.50 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.60%. The ex-dividend date is Monday, March 13th. BancorpSouth’s dividend payout ratio is currently 35.46%.

In related news, insider William L. Prater sold 10,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Wednesday, March 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $31.75, for a total transaction of $317,500.00. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 33,367 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,059,402.25. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, insider William James Threadgill, Jr. sold 4,246 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, February 23rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $31.38, for a total transaction of $133,239.48. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 29,611 shares in the company, valued at approximately $929,193.18. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders have sold 24,246 shares of company stock worth $758,239. 3.93% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Elkfork Partners LLC purchased a new position in shares of BancorpSouth during the fourth quarter valued at about $134,000. Creative Planning raised its position in shares of BancorpSouth by 65.6% in the third quarter. Creative Planning now owns 4,369 shares of the company’s stock valued at $101,000 after buying an additional 1,730 shares in the last quarter. Kernodle & Katon Asset Management Group LLC purchased a new position in shares of BancorpSouth during the third quarter valued at about $105,000. US Bancorp DE raised its position in shares of BancorpSouth by 36.3% in the third quarter. US Bancorp DE now owns 4,715 shares of the company’s stock valued at $109,000 after buying an additional 1,255 shares in the last quarter. Finally, LS Investment Advisors LLC raised its position in shares of BancorpSouth by 6.3% in the third quarter. LS Investment Advisors LLC now owns 5,444 shares of the company’s stock valued at $126,000 after buying an additional 323 shares in the last quarter. 63.13% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

BancorpSouth Company Profile

BancorpSouth, Inc is a financial holding company. The Company, through its principal bank subsidiary, BancorpSouth Bank (the Bank), conducts commercial banking and financial services operations in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas and Illinois. The Company’s segments include Community Banking, Insurance Agencies, and General Corporate and Other.

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