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Sandler upgrades Beneficial Bancorp to 'buy'

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Sandler upgrades Beneficial Bancorp to 'buy'

Upgrade

Sandler O'Neill & Partners analyst Frank Schiraldi raised Philadelphia-based Beneficial Bancorp Inc.'s stock rating to "buy" from "hold" and increased the price target to $22 from $17.

The analyst wrote that Beneficial's stock rating upgrade and the increase in the price target were made in order to reflect the deal price of WSFS Financial Corp.'s proposed acquisition of Beneficial.

The analyst further wrote that the deal is "very attractive" for Beneficial's shareholders and that Beneficial "chose the right partner for the long haul."

Initiation

Brian Zabora of Hovde Group is now covering Cerritos, Calif.-based First Choice Bancorp's stock. He gave it an "outperform" rating and set the price target at $31.

The analyst introduced First Choice EPS estimates at $1.80 for 2018, $2.18 for 2019 and $2.36 for 2020.

The analyst wrote that with the acquisition of Pacific Commerce Bancorp, First Choice's net interest margin is expected to expand to 4.54% by the fourth quarter.

Zabora further wrote that the acquisition will result in cost savings pushing First Choice's efficiency ratio down to the mid-50s by the second quarter of 2019.