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Argus Research downgrades Comerica on interest rate environment headwinds

Downgrades

Argus Research analyst Kevin Heal downgraded Dallas-based Comerica Inc. driven primarily by pressure on the company's earnings from the lowering interest rate environment.

Heal wrote that he expects the company to face greater earnings pressure than its peers and it will continue to face NIM pressure from the lower interest rate environment.

The analyst lowered the company's stock rating to "hold" from "buy." He lowered his EPS estimates to $7.83 from $8.08 for 2019 and to $7.64 from $8.48 for 2020.

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Keefe, Bruyette & Woods analyst Brian Klock downgraded Buffalo, N.Y.-based M&T Bank Corp. based on NIM pressure and increased technology expenses.

The analyst wrote that although M&T Bank is one of the most profitable banks he covers, its shares will be "range-bound" due to NIM headwinds and an increase in technology consolidation expenses.

The analyst downgraded the company's stock rating to "market perform" from "outperform" and lowered the price target to $160 from $168. He lowered his EPS estimates to $13.96 from $13.98 for 2019 and to $13.33 from $13.78 for 2020.

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Boenning & Scattergood analyst Erik Zwick downgraded Bethesda, Md.-based Eagle Bancorp Inc. based on uncertainty around NIM stabilization and an ongoing regulatory inquiry.

Zwick wrote that Eagle Bancorp is at a "crossroads" with the recent retirement of its founder and three board members resigning this month. The analyst still expects additional NIM compression in fourth quarter, but at a smaller magnitude than the third quarter, with possibility of stabilization in 2020.

The analyst downgraded the company's stock rating to "neutral" from "outperform" and lowered the price target to $46 from $48. He increased his 2019 operating EPS estimate to $4.18 from $4.17, but lowered his 2020 EPS estimate to $4.42 from $4.52.

Initiations

Compass Point Research & Trading analyst Laurie Hunsicker initiated coverage of Amesbury, Mass.-based Provident Bancorp Inc. following the completion of its second-stage conversion public offering.

Hunsicker wrote that Provident Bancorp is a "well-capitalized" bank and is "attractively" priced compared to its New England peers.

The analyst initiated coverage of the company with a "buy" rating and a price target of $13. Her EPS estimates are $1.04 for 2019 and 66 cents for 2020.