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Raymond James initiates Limestone Bancorp at 'outperform'

Daniel Cardenas from Raymond James initiated Louisville, Ky.-based Limestone Bancorp Inc.'s stock rating at "outperform," with a price target of $18.

Cardenas wrote that Limestone completed an extensive credit quality transformation, overhauled its risk management systems and exited regulatory orders, which serves as a "transformational banking story."

He also wrote that the company's recent performance has shown positive signs and further improvement seems to be achievable. The analyst expects stable loan growth, continued improvements in deposit mix and a sound and growing capital base, among other things.

Cardenas wrote that with the appointment of a chief deposit officer and the acquisition of four branches from Louisville, Ky.-based Republic Bank & Trust Co., Limestone should be able to continue to improve funding costs while cutting down on its reliance on higher cost noncore deposits.

The analyst's operating EPS estimates for the company are $1.34 for 2019 and $1.84 for 2020.