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Raymond James downgrades Carolina Financial Corp. on deal

Downgrades

Raymond James analyst William Wallace downgraded Charleston, S.C.-based Carolina Financial Corp. to "market perform" from "strong buy" based on its announced agreement to be acquired by Charleston, W.Va.-based United Bankshares Inc.

United Bankshares' rating is "market perform," according to the analysts' note. "We expect [Carolina Financial] shares will trade in line with [United Bankshares] shares until the deal closes," Wallace wrote. "As such, we are downgrading ... to align with our rating on [United Bankshares.]"

The analyst estimated earnings per share of $3.00 for 2019 and 2020 and did not provide a new price target.

Initiations

Keefe Bruyette & Woods analysts Christopher O'Connell, Collyn Gilbert and Rob Dowers initiated coverage of Elmira, N.Y.-based Chemung Financial Corp. with a rating of "market perform."

Despite low interest rates and "intense competition," the analysts believe Chemung is "well positioned to combat these headwinds," due to its optimized balance sheet, consistent fee income growth and limited expense growth.

Chemung has "significant opportunity to optimize its low-cost deposit base," the analysts wrote in a note, "which should result in higher earnings."

The analysts initiated coverage with a price target of $49 and EPS estimates of $3.32 for 2019, $3.80 for 2020, and $3.82 for 2021.