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Hovde Group upgrades Signature Bank to 'outperform'

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Hovde Group analyst Joseph Fenech raised New York-based Signature Bank's stock rating to "outperform" from "market perform" and lowered the price target to $133 from $144.

The analyst wrote that when he lowered Signature Bank to "underperform" in November 2016, the bank's issues at the forefront included taxi medallions, commercial real estate concentration, regulatory risk and uncertainty around expense growth. Those issues, for the most part, are now "rear-view mirror-type concerns." However, they have been replaced by new emerging set of issues, wrote Fenech.

"Having said all that, there is a point when concerns are fully priced in, and we think we're just about there," the analyst wrote. The valuation of Signature Bank's stock should now "provide considerable support, and eventually, a catalyst," added Fenech.

Initiation

Sandler O'Neill & Partners analyst Brendan Nosal is now covering Manitowoc, Wis.-based County Bancorp Inc. He gave it a "hold" rating and set the price target at $28.

The analyst introduced County Bancorp's EPS estimates at $2.15 for 2018, $2.16 for 2019 and $2.27 for 2020.

Nosal wrote that County Bancorp's expertise in dairy lending is a defining trait. "All of the company's agriculture lenders grew up on farms and management has a wealth of knowledge in this niche," wrote the analyst.