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Sandler O'Neill cites attractive dividend yield in Sutherland Asset initiation

Sandler O'Neill & Partners analyst Crispin Love initiated coverage on Sutherland Asset Management Corp. with a "hold" rating, citing its "attractive" 10% dividend yield.

The analyst noted that the cost of funds has increased by 108 basis points to 4.75% in the fourth quarter of 2017 from 3.67% in the fourth quarter of 2016, while total loan yields have decreased as the company focuses more on its small balance commercial loans originations segment rather than its loan acquisition business.

"We believe the cost of funds needs to stabilize or loan yields need to outpace the increase in cost of funds in the coming quarters for [Sutherland] to increase its net interest margin," Love wrote in a note to clients.

The analyst set a 12-month price target of $16.00 and introduced EPS predictions for 2018 and 2019 of $1.56 and $1.65, respectively.