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Atlantic Equities upgrades Bank of America following 'impressive' Q3 results

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Atlantic Equities upgrades Bank of America following 'impressive' Q3 results

Upgrade

Atlantic Equities analysts John Heagerty and Nadja Heini upgraded Bank of America Corp. following "impressive" third-quarter results.

The analysts noted that improved loan growth is partly offsetting the "substantial" net interest margin pressure. The bank's third-quarter results showed deposit growth, a reacceleration of consumer and commercial lending, and a "clear improvement" in the investment banking franchise.

They upgraded the company's stock rating to "overweight" from "neutral" and raised the price target to $36 from $33. The analysts also raised their EPS estimates to $2.88 from $2.82 for 2019 and to $3.12 from $3.08 for 2020.

Downgrade

Sandler O'Neill analyst Stephen Scouten downgraded Lafayette, La.-based IBERIABANK Corp., driven primarily by net interest margin pressure from the lowering interest rate environment.

Despite reporting higher third-quarter earnings per share year over year, Scouten wrote that his 2020 estimate implies about a 6% decline in EPS year over year. The company's asset-sensitive position will constrain estimates and the ultimate valuation in the shares due to the current interest rate environment, the analyst wrote.

Scouten downgraded the company's stock rating to "hold" from "buy." He lowered his EPS estimates to $7.10 from $7.15 for 2019 and to $6.65 from $7.20 for 2020.

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Compass Point Research & Trading analyst Laurie Hunsicker downgraded Waterbury, Conn.-based Webster Financial Corp. due to NIM pressure and the likelihood that slower health savings account growth will weigh on the company's stock.

The analyst wrote that she sees Webster Financial as a "clean, top performing" bank, but NIM pressure and slowed HSA growth will stall EPS momentum.

She downgraded the company's stock rating to "neutral" from "buy" and lowered the price target to $48 from $56. She lowered her EPS estimates to $4.04 from $4.09 for 2019 and to $3.62 from $4.05 for 2020.

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Sandler O'Neill analyst Mark Fitzgibbon downgraded Webster Financial Corp., driven primarily by the current interest rate environment.

Fitzgibbon wrote that the company's deposit base and natural asset sensitivity "do not lend themselves well" to the current lowering interest rate environment. The uncertain 2020 election could "spook" investors who worry that a Democrat president could implement Medicare for All and negatively impact the company's HSA business, the analyst wrote.

He downgraded the company's stock rating to "hold" from "buy." He lowered his 2019 EPS estimate by 5 cents to $4.07 and his 2020 estimate by 40 cents to $3.80.