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Hovde Group upgrades CU Bancorp; Piper Jaffray upgrades IBERIABANK

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Hovde Group upgrades CU Bancorp; Piper Jaffray upgrades IBERIABANK

Upgrades

Hovde Group analyst Brian Zabora upgraded to "outperform"from "market perform" and also increased his 12-month price target to$26.00 from $24.75. The analyst thinks the current market value of the companyis an attractive entry point. He believes the recent decline in share price,following the consentorder, is an overreaction. He believes the company will be able tomanage the consent order-related costs with minimal effect on its financialperformance in 2017.


Piper Jaffray analyst Peyton Green upgraded to"overweight" from "neutral" and also increased his 12-monthprice target to $78 from $65. The analyst increased his investment rating onthe stock to reflect its stronger mortgage banking and better-than-consensusoperating leverage. In addition, the analyst thinks , Bank of the Ozarks Inc. and will reportbetter-than-expected financial results among the Southeast bank peers. However,he is less bullish on the sector, given the pressure on EPS from a low interestrate environment and the recent valuations.

Initiations

Wedbush Securities analyst Peter Winter initiated coverageof 14 banks.

The analyst rated four banks at "outperform,"including Citizens Financial GroupInc. with a price target of $29, Huntington Bancshares Inc. with a price target of $12,KeyCorp with a targetprice of $15, and Regions FinancialCorp. with a 12-month price target of $12.

In addition, the analyst rated 10 banks at"neutral." The list included Comerica Inc. with a price target of $49, with a pricetarget of $22, M&T BankCorp. with a target price of $117, with a12-month price target of $15, SunTrust Banks Inc. with a price target of $47,U.S. Bancorp with aprice target of $46, BOK FinancialCorp. with a target price of $68, Cullen/Frost Bankers Inc. with a 12-month price targetof $68, Prosperity BancsharesInc. with a price target of $54, and with aprice target of $54.

The analyst believes regional banks are trading at a slightdiscount on the basis of 12-month forward price-to-earnings multiples.


Brendan Nosal, a Sandler O'Neill & Partners LP analyst,initiated coverage of FarmersCapital Bank Corp. with a "buy" rating and a 12-monthprice target of $35. The analyst believes the company's balance sheet ispositioned to grow as it now stands on "steady footing" under theleadership of President and CEO Lloyd Hillard Jr. He also expects the companyto report high-quality earnings and "a largely cured credit profile."

Downgrade

Jefferies LLC analyst Ken Usdin downgraded Fifth ThirdBancorp to "hold" from "buy," with a 12-month price targetof $22, based on the company's current valuation. He expects the company's EPSgrowth in 2018 to be below peers, based on slower expected revenue growth andincrease in provisions. He thinks the positive ramifications from Project NorthStar might take some time to be reflected in the financial results.

Dropped coverage

FBR & Co. dropped coverage of Fifth Third, , and U.S. Bancorp due to reallocation of resources.