Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Citizens Financial Group, Inc. (CFG) to Buy

Citizens Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE:CFG) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Tuesday. The brokerage currently has a $37.00 price objective on the bank’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price indicates a potential upside of 10.58% from the stock’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Citizens Financial have outperformed the industry year to date. This 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. It remains on track to implement TOP III efficiency initiatives, which are expected to boost earnings performance further. The company also launched TOP IV initiatives which are expected to achieve pre-tax benefit of $90-$105 million by the end of 2018. Following the Fed rate hikes so far, margin pressure seems to be easing. Also, the company continues to benefit from improving loans and deposit balances, and is well positioned to grow further as the U.S. economy is gaining traction. However, higher costs resulting from pending legal hassles remain a major concern.”

CFG has been the topic of a number of other reports. Morgan Stanley reissued an “overweight” rating and set a $41.00 price target (up from $40.00) on shares of Citizens Financial Group in a research report on Tuesday, June 6th. BMO Capital Markets reissued a “market perform” rating and set a $39.00 price target (up from $38.00) on shares of Citizens Financial Group in a research report on Tuesday, July 25th. Deutsche Bank AG reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Citizens Financial Group in a research report on Wednesday, July 5th. Citigroup Inc. reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Citizens Financial Group in a research report on Thursday, June 22nd. Finally, BidaskClub raised shares of Citizens Financial Group from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Friday, August 25th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Citizens Financial Group presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $35.06.

Shares of Citizens Financial Group (NYSE CFG) traded up 3.41% during mid-day trading on Tuesday, reaching $34.60. 3,214,909 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. The firm has a market cap of $17.32 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 14.77 and a beta of 1.32. The company’s 50 day moving average is $34.08 and its 200-day moving average is $35.39. Citizens Financial Group has a 52 week low of $23.81 and a 52 week high of $39.75.

Citizens Financial Group (NYSE:CFG) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Friday, July 21st. The bank reported $0.63 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.59 by $0.04. The company had revenue of $1.40 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.40 billion. Citizens Financial Group had a net margin of 19.86% and a return on equity of 6.08%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 9.2% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.46 earnings per share. Equities analysts expect that Citizens Financial Group will post $2.53 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Citizens Financial Group announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a stock repurchase plan on Wednesday, June 28th that allows the company to repurchase $850.00 million in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization allows the bank to repurchase up to 4.8% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are often a sign that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.

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A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the business. Alps Advisors Inc. increased its stake in Citizens Financial Group by 0.3% in the 2nd quarter. Alps Advisors Inc. now owns 12,875 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $459,000 after buying an additional 33 shares during the last quarter. Smithfield Trust Co. increased its stake in Citizens Financial Group by 1.4% in the 2nd quarter. Smithfield Trust Co. now owns 4,994 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $178,000 after buying an additional 70 shares during the last quarter. First Allied Advisory Services Inc. increased its stake in Citizens Financial Group by 1.1% in the 2nd quarter. First Allied Advisory Services Inc. now owns 7,101 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $250,000 after buying an additional 76 shares during the last quarter. Veritable L.P. increased its stake in Citizens Financial Group by 1.2% in the 2nd quarter. Veritable L.P. now owns 6,408 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $229,000 after buying an additional 79 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Louisiana State Employees Retirement System increased its stake in Citizens Financial Group by 0.3% in the 2nd quarter. Louisiana State Employees Retirement System now owns 31,400 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $1,120,000 after buying an additional 100 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 96.86% of the company’s stock.

About Citizens Financial Group

Citizens Financial Group, Inc is a retail bank holding company. The Company operates through two segments: Consumer Banking and Commercial Banking. Its Consumer Banking serves retail customers and small businesses. Consumer Banking products and services include deposit products, mortgage and home equity lending, auto financing, student loans, personal unsecured lines and loans, credit cards, business loans, wealth management and investment services.

Analyst Recommendations for Citizens Financial Group (NYSE:CFG)

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