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Raymond James adjusts bank stock ratings ahead of Q3 earnings

Street Talk Episode 40 - Digital Banks Take a Page Out of 'Mad Men'

Broadband Only Homes Skyrocket In 2018 Validating Top MSOs Connectivity Pivot

Power Forecast Briefing: As retirements accelerate, can renewable energy fill the gap?

2019 Credit Risk Perspectives: Is The Credit Cycle Turning? A Fundamentals View


Raymond James adjusts bank stock ratings ahead of Q3 earnings

Downgrades

Sandler O'Neill & Partners LP analyst Jeffery Hartedowngraded JPMorgan Chase &Co. to "hold" from "buy" based on valuation. Henoted that the company, though attractively valued, is trading at a premiumbased on next-12-months price-to-earnings and price-to-tangible book value.Harte believes investors can gain more "bang for the buck" by buyingcheaper and less widely owned universal bank stocks like and


Stephens analyst Terry McEvoy lowered to "equalweight" from "overweight" after recent outperformance, andsuggested investors "move into KeyCorp." McEvoy believes Fifth Third's stake inVantiv Inc. is now"largely reflected" in its valuation. He raised his price target forKeyCorp, as well as those for Citizens Financial Group Inc., and , all rated at "overweight." The increased pricetargets are a result of Stephens modeling 2017 and 2018 operating EPS growth of14% and 12%, respectively.


Raymond James analysts adjusted their ratings and estimatesahead of third-quarter earnings releases.

Michael Rose lowered Regions Financial to "outperform"from "strong buy" based on its recent outperformance in the stockmarket during the third quarter. He noted that the company stock priceincreased 16.0% compared to a 3.3% increase in the S&P 500 and a 9.3% risein the KBW Nasdaq Bank Index.


David Long lowered his investment rating for to "marketperform" from "strong buy," after the company's stock priceincreased 20% compared to a 6% increase in the KBW Nasdaq Bank Index and a 5%gain in the S&P 500, since its last upgrade in May. The analyst noted thatthe recent increase in oil prices and net interest margin expansion drove theincrease in stock price. He expects the company to maintain its margin betterthan its peers given the excess liquidity deployment, however he does not see anear-term catalyst to drive share prices higher.


Raymond James lowered Park Sterling Corp., First Financial Bancorp. and to"market perform" from "outperform," based on the recentappreciation in their stock prices. The firm believes the companies' currentvaluations appropriately reflect their risk/reward profiles.


Rose downgraded BancorpSouth Inc. to "underperform" from"market perform." The analyst thinks the bank's pending exam anduncertainty surrounding the completion of its acquisitions of andCentral CommunityCorp. will limit any upside in the company's stock price in thenear term. Rose lowered the 2017 EPS estimate to $1.70 from $1.75.

Upgrades

Raymond James upgraded United Community Banks Inc. and PNC Financial Services.

United Community Banks was upgraded to "strongbuy" from "outperform" with a price target of $24. Rose believesthe company has potential for multiple expansion after the third quarter,following the TidelandsBancshares Inc. acquisition. In addition, they noted the company'scontinued progress towards its goal of 1.1% return on assets by the end of2016, better-than-peer loan growth and improved efficiency ratio.


Rose upgraded PNC Financial Services to "marketperform" from "underperform." The analyst thinks the"negative EPS revision cycle" has probably "hit an inflectionpoint." He noted that the company's management expects more cost savings,better consumer loan growth and positive operating leverage.

Initiations

Piper Jaffray analyst Nathan Race initiated coverage ofGreat Western BancorpInc., TCF FinancialCorp., QCR HoldingsInc., HorizonBancorp and FirstFinancial Bancorp..

The analyst initiated Great Western at "neutral"and a 12-month price target of $35. Race noted that although the company iswell-run, with a "best-in-class efficiency ratio," the lack ofclarity on how the current agricultural downturn will impact the bank preventshim from being more positive on the stock, given the company's"well-above-average" exposure to the sector.


Race initiated TCF Financial at "neutral" with a$15 target price. He noted that the negative factors surrounding the companyoutweigh the potential positive catalysts. The company's price target reflectsa discount compared to peers, based on its below-average asset quality andefficiency metrics, its CFPB-related issues, and the volatility in the company'sfee income tied toconsumer real estate and auto loan sales. Race listedthe company's niche market, above-average diversified revenue and high-yieldinglending segments as positives for the company.


QCR Holdings was initiated with an "overweight"rating and $36 price target. Race believes the bank's infrastructure issufficient to allow it to approximately double in size to $7 billion in assets.He said QCR Holdings is well-positioned as an acquirer of choice and hasabove-average organic growth prospects. He projects 10% to 12% organic loangrowth "over the next several quarters," that should drive above-peerEPS growth.


The analyst initiated Horizon Bancorp at"overweight" with a 12-month price target of $33.50. Race believes thecompany's recent acquisition of La Porte Bancorp Inc. has provided significant cost-cuttingopportunities and increased scale, which will help it generate a return onassets of more than 1.05% in 2017. In addition, he thinks the company willremain "an acquirer of choice" and the recent increase in its stockprice will "improve the economics of future deals."


Race initiated First Financial with a "neutral"rating and a 12-month price target of $23, reflecting a premium compared to itspeers, based on the company's above-average expected organic growth. Raceexpects First Financial to build its capital over the next several quarters, asthe company approaches the $10 billion threshold, to provide the managementteam additional flexibility.


Listen: Street Talk Episode 40 - Digital Banks Take a Page Out of 'Mad Men'

Mar. 20 2019 — Some fintech companies are making hay with digital platforms that tout their differences with banks, even though they are often offering virtually the same products. In the episode, we discuss with colleagues Rachel Stone and Kiah Haslett the deposit strategies employed by the likes of Chime, Aspiration and other incumbent players such as Ally Financial, Discover and Capital One. Those efforts conjure up memories of a Don Draper pitch in Mad Men and likely will enjoy continued success.

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Technology, Media & Telecom
Broadband Only Homes Skyrocket In 2018 Validating Top MSOs Connectivity Pivot

Highlights

The segment stood at an estimated 23.6 million as of Dec. 31, 2018, accounting for 24% of all wireline high-speed data homes.

The following post comes from Kagan, a research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence.

To learn more about our TMT (Technology, Media & Telecommunications) products and/or research, please request a demo.

Mar. 20 2019 — The U.S. broadband-only home segment logged its largest net adds on record in 2018, validating Comcast Corp.'s and Charter Communications Inc.'s moves to make broadband, or connectivity, the keystone of their cable communication businesses.

The size and momentum of the segment also put in perspective the recent high-profile online-video video announcements by the top two cable operators as well as AT&T Inc.'s WarnerMedia shake-up and plans to go toe-to-toe with Netflix in the subscription video-on-demand arena in the next 12 months.

We estimate that wireline broadband households not subscribing to traditional multichannel, or broadband-only homes, rose by nearly 4.3 million in 2018, topping the gains from the previous year by roughly 22%. Overall, the segment stood at an estimated 23.6 million as of Dec. 31, 2018, accounting for 24% of all wireline high-speed data homes.

For perspective, broadband-only homes stood at an estimated 11.3 million a mere four years ago, accounting for 13% of residential cable and telco broadband subscribers.

The once all-powerful, must-have live linear TV model, which individuals and families essentially treated as a utility upon moving into a new residence, increasingly is viewed as too expensive and unwieldy in the era of affordable, nimble internet-based video alternatives. This has resulted in a sizable drop in penetration of occupied households.

As a result, continued legacy cord cutting is baked in and broadband-only homes are expected to continue to rise at a fast clip, with the segment's momentum in the next few years compounded by Comcast's, Charter's and AT&T's ambitious moves into online-video territory.

Note: we revised historical broadband-only home estimates as part of our fourth-quarter 2018, following restatements of historical telco broadband subscriber figures and residential traditional multichannel subscriber adjustments.

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Q4'18 multichannel video losses propel full-year drop to edge of 4 million

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Q4'18 multiproduct analysis sheds more light on video's fall from grace

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Watch: Power Forecast Briefing: As retirements accelerate, can renewable energy fill the gap?

Mar. 19 2019 — Steve Piper shares the outlook for U.S. power markets, discussing capacity retirements and whether continued development of wind and solar power plants may mitigate the generation shortfall.

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Credit Analysis
2019 Credit Risk Perspectives: Is The Credit Cycle Turning? A Fundamentals View

Mar. 15 2019 — On November 20, 2018, a joint event hosted by S&P Global Market Intelligence and S&P Global Ratings took place in London, focusing on credit risk and 2019 perspectives.

Pascal Hartwig, Credit Product Specialist, and I provided a review of the latest trends observed across non-financial corporate firms through the lens of S&P Global Market Intelligence’s statistical models.1 In particular, Pascal focused on the outputs produced by a statistical model that uses market information to estimate credit risk of public companies; if you want to know more, you can visit here.

I focused on an analysis of how different Brexit scenarios may impact the credit risk of European Union (EU) private companies that are included on S&P Capital IQ platform.

Before, this, I looked at the evolution of their credit risk profile from 2013 to 2017, as shown in Figure 1. Scores were generated via Credit Analytics’ PD Model Fundamentals Private, a statistical model that uses company financials and other socio-economic factors to estimate the PD of private companies globally. Credit scores are mapped to PD values, which are based on/derived from S&P Global Ratings Observed Default Rates.

Figure 1: EU private company scores generated by PD Model Fundamentals Private, between 2013 and 2017.

Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence.2 As of October 2018.

For any given year, the distribution of credit scores of EU private companies is concentrated below the ‘a’ level, due to the large number of small revenue and unrated firms on the S&P Capital IQ platform. An overall improvement of the risk profile is visible, with the score distribution moving leftwards between 2013 and 2017. A similar picture is visible when comparing companies by country or industry sector,3 confirming that there were no clear signs of a turning point in the credit cycle of private companies in any EU country or industry sector. However, this view is backward looking and does not take into account the potential effects of an imminent and major political and economic event in the (short) history of the EU: Brexit.

To this purpose, S&P Global Market Intelligence has developed a statistical model: the Credit Analytics Macro-scenario model enables users to study how potential future macroeconomic scenarios may affect the evolution of the credit risk profile of EU private companies. This model was developed by looking at the historical evolution of S&P Global Ratings’ rated companies under different macroeconomic conditions, and can be applied to smaller companies after the PD is mapped to a S&P Global Market Intelligence credit score.

“Soft Brexit” (Figure 2): This scenario is based on the baseline forecast made by economists at S&P Global Ratings and is characterized by a gentle slow-down of economic growth, a progressive monetary policy tightening, and low yet volatile stock-market growth.4

Figure 2: “Soft Brexit” macro scenario.5

Source: S&P Global Ratings Economists. As of October 2018.

Applying the Macro-scenario model, we analyze the evolution of the credit risk profile of EU companies over a three-year period from 2018 to 2020, by industry sector and by country:

  • Sector Analysis (Figure 3):
    • The median credit risk score within specific industry sectors (Aerospace & Defense, Pharmaceuticals, Telecoms, Utilities, and Real Estate) shows a good degree of resilience, rising by less than half a notch by 2020 and remaining comfortably below the ‘b+’ threshold.
    • The median credit score of the Retail and Consumer Products sectors, however, is severely impacted, breaching the high risk threshold (here defined at the ‘b-’ level).
    • The remaining industry sectors show various dynamics, but essentially remain within the intermediate risk band (here defined between the ‘b+’ and the ‘b-’ level).

Figure 3: “Soft Brexit” impact on the median credit risk level of EU private companies, by industry.

Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence. As of October 2018.

  • Country Analysis (Figure 4):
    • Although the median credit risk score may not change significantly in certain countries, the associated default rates need to be adjusted for the impact of the credit cycle.6 The “spider-web plot” shows the median PD values for private companies within EU countries, adjusted for the credit cycle. Here we include only countries with a minimum number of private companies within the Credit Analytics pre-scored database, to ensure a robust statistical analysis.
    • Countries are ordered by increasing level of median PD, moving clock-wise from Netherlands to Greece.
    • Under a soft Brexit scenario, the PD of UK private companies increases between 2018 and 2020, but still remains below the yellow threshold (corresponding to a ‘b+’ level).
    • Interestingly, Italian private companies suffer more than their Spanish peers, albeit starting from a slightly lower PD level in 2017.

Figure 4: “Soft Brexit” impact on the median credit risk level of EU private companies, by country.

Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence. As of October 2018.

“Hard Brexit” (Figure 5): This scenario is extracted from the 2018 Stress-Testing exercise of the European Banking Authority (EBA) and the Bank of England.7 Under this scenario, both the EU and UK may go into a recession similar to the 2008 global crisis. Arguably, this may seem a harsh scenario for the whole of the EU, but a recent report by the Bank of England warned that a disorderly Brexit may trigger a UK crisis worse than 2008.8

Figure 5: “Hard Brexit” macro scenario.9

Sources:”2018 EU-wide stress test – methodological note” (European Banking Authority, November 2017) and “Stress Testing the UK Banking system: 2018 guidance for participating banks and building societies“ (Bank of England, March 2018).

Also in this case, we apply the Macro-scenario model to analyze the evolution of the credit risk profile of EU companies over the same three-year period, by industry sector and by country:

  • Sector Analysis (Figure 6):
    • Despite all industry sectors being severely impacted, the Pharmaceuticals and Utilities sectors remain below the ‘b+’ level (yellow threshold).
    • Conversely, the Airlines and Energy sectors join Retail and Consumer Products in the “danger zone” above the ‘b-’ level (red threshold).
    • The remaining industry sectors will either move into or remain within the intermediate risk band (here defined between the ‘b+’ and the ‘b-’ level).

Figure 6: “Hard Brexit” impact on the median credit risk level of EU private companies, by industry.

Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence. As of October 2018.

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  • Country Analysis (Figure 7):
    • Under a hard Brexit scenario, the PD of UK private companies increases between 2017 and 2020, entering the intermediate risk band and suffering even more than its Irish peers.
    • Notably, by 2020 the French private sector may suffer more than the Italian private sector, reaching the attention threshold (here shown as a red circle, and corresponding to a ‘b-’ level).
    • While it is hard to do an exact like-for-like comparison, it is worth noting that our conclusions are broadly aligned with the findings from the 48 banks participating in the 2018 stress-testing exercise, as recently published by the EBA:10 the major share of 2018-2020 new credit risk losses in the stressed scenario will concentrate among counterparties in the UK, Italy, France, Spain, and Germany (leaving aside the usual suspects, such as Greece, Portugal, etc.).

Figure 7: “Hard Brexit” impact on the median credit risk level of EU private companies, by country.

Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence. As of October 2018.

In conclusion: In Europe, the private companies’ credit risk landscape does not yet signal a distinct turning point, however Brexit may act as a pivot point and a catalyst for a credit cycle inversion, with an intensity that will be dependent on the Brexit type of landing (i.e., soft versus hard).

1 S&P Global Ratings does not contribute to or participate in the creation of credit scores generated by S&P Global Market Intelligence.
2 Lowercase nomenclature is used to differentiate S&P Global Market Intelligence credit scores from the credit ratings issued by S&P Global Ratings.
3 Not shown here.
4 Measured via Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Growth, Long-term / Short-term (L/S) European Central Bank Interest Rate Spread, and FTSE100 or STOXX50 stock market growth, respectively.
5 Macroeconomic forecast for 2018-2020 (end of year) by economists at S&P Global Ratings; the baseline case assumes the UK and the EU will reach a Brexit deal (e.g. a “soft Brexit”).
6 When the credit cycle deteriorates (improves), default rates are expected to increase (decrease).
7 Source: “2018 EU-wide stress test – methodological note” (EBA, November 2017) and “Stress Testing the UK Banking system: 2018 guidance for participating banks and building societies”. (Bank of England, March 2018).
8 Source: “EU withdrawal scenarios and monetary and financial stability – A response to the House of Commons Treasury Committee”. (Bank of England, November 2018).
9 As a hard Brexit scenario, we adopt the stressed scenario included in the 2018 stress testing exercise and defined by the EBA and the Bank of England.
10 See, for example, Figure 18 in “2018 EU-Wide Stress Test Result” (EBA November 2018), found at:https://eba.europa.eu/documents/10180/2419200/2018-EU-wide-stress-test-Results.pdf

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2019 Credit Risk Perspectives: Is The Credit Cycle Turning? A Market-Driven View

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