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D.A. Davidson downgrades Independent Bank, suggests it is interested in M&A

Downgrades

D.A. Davidson senior research analyst Russell Gunther downgraded Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Independent Bank Corp., writing that the company is poised to take advantage of the opportunity to gain dislocated customers and talent from M&A in its footprint.

Gunther also wrote that the company is an interested buyer likely looking for partners between $300 million and $1 billion in assets in Michigan, Ohio or Indiana.

The analyst downgraded the company's stock rating to "neutral" from "buy" and lowered the price target to $24 from $26. He lowered EPS estimates for 2019 and 2020 to $2.22 and $1.98 from $2.27 and $1.99, respectively.

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D.A. Davidson senior research analyst David Bishop downgraded Bridgeport, Conn.-based People's United Financial Inc., driven primarily by a challenging growth outlook.

Following the company's 2019 fourth-quarter earnings results and 2020 guidance from management, Bishop thinks loan growth will be a struggle this year.

The analyst downgraded the company's stock rating to "neutral" from "buy" and maintained the price target of $17.50. He lowered his 2020 EPS estimate to $1.38 from $1.40 and established a 2021 EPS estimate of $1.42.

Initiation

Raymond James analyst David Long initiated coverage of Sioux Falls, S.D.-based Great Western Bancorp Inc.

Long is bullish on the company's long-term prospects, believing that it can "conservatively grow its balance sheet, consistently produce positive operating leverage, record superior returns on capital" and leverage its excess capital in a way that benefits its EPS. Current headwinds to the company's agribusiness exposure, however, will remain in the near-term and be a headwind to EPS, according to Long.

The analyst initiated coverage with a "market perform" rating. His EPS estimates are $3.04 for fiscal year 2020 and $3.17 for fiscal year 2021.