BancorpSouth Inc. (BXS) Lifted to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of BancorpSouth Inc. (NYSE:BXS) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report sent to investors on Monday.

According to Zacks, “BancorpSouth’s estimates have been stable lately ahead of the company’s third-quarter 2016 earnings release. BancorpSouth efforts toward expense management will likely boost the company’s bottom-line growth in the upcoming quarters. Notably, management believes that an expected decline in other real estate (ORE) expenses in 2016 will enhance earnings. Further, its steady capital deployment activities enhance shareholders’ value. In Jul 2016, the company raised its quarterly cash dividend by 25%. Further, the company is well-positioned for long-term growth, given its continued improvement in asset quality and opportunistic acquisitions. However, the company continues to face margin pressure amid the low rate environment. Further, revenue challenges linger from a muted growth in non-interest income.”

A number of other brokerages have also recently issued reports on BXS. JPMorgan Chase & Co. reissued a hold rating and issued a $24.00 target price on shares of BancorpSouth in a report on Friday, July 22nd. FBR & Co restated a buy rating on shares of BancorpSouth in a research report on Saturday, July 9th. Finally, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods upgraded BancorpSouth from a market perform rating to an outperform rating and increased their price target for the stock from $24.00 to $25.00 in a research report on Thursday, June 30th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have issued a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $24.71.

Shares of BancorpSouth (NYSE:BXS) opened at 23.19 on Monday. The firm has a market capitalization of $2.19 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.50 and a beta of 1.20. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $23.94 and its 200-day moving average price is $23.06. BancorpSouth has a 12 month low of $18.69 and a 12 month high of $27.23.

BancorpSouth (NYSE:BXS) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, July 20th. The company reported $0.39 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, hitting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.39. BancorpSouth had a return on equity of 8.36% and a net margin of 15.25%. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $0.41 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts predict that BancorpSouth will post $1.51 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, October 3rd. Investors of record on Thursday, September 15th were issued a $0.125 dividend. This is a boost from BancorpSouth’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.10. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, September 13th. This represents a $0.50 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.16%. BancorpSouth’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 42.02%.

In related news, insider James Ronald Hodges sold 4,543 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, August 22nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $24.01, for a total value of $109,077.43. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 26,900 shares in the company, valued at $645,869. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. 3.93% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Pacad Investment Ltd. purchased a new position in BancorpSouth during the second quarter valued at about $111,000. LS Investment Advisors LLC boosted its position in BancorpSouth by 78.2% in the second quarter. LS Investment Advisors LLC now owns 5,121 shares of the company’s stock valued at $116,000 after buying an additional 2,248 shares in the last quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. boosted its position in BancorpSouth by 119.9% in the second quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. now owns 7,066 shares of the company’s stock valued at $160,000 after buying an additional 3,852 shares in the last quarter. Argent Trust Co purchased a new position in BancorpSouth during the second quarter valued at about $209,000. Finally, Parametrica Management Ltd purchased a new position in BancorpSouth during the second quarter valued at about $225,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 62.98% of the company’s stock.

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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