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RBC Capital Markets downgrades PNC from 'top pick,' replaces with Truist

Downgrade

RBC Capital Markets analyst Gerard Cassidy downgraded Pittsburgh-based PNC Financial Services Group Inc. following the completion of BB&T Corp. and SunTrust Banks Inc.'s merger of equals to become Truist Financial Corp.

The analyst downgraded PNC's stock rating to "outperform" from "top pick," bestowing the latter designation on Truist Financial Corp. instead. However, the analyst wrote that he still considers PNC to be one of the top-performing banks in the U.S.

His EPS estimates for PNC are $11.37 for 2019 and $11.99 for 2020.

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Sandler O'Neill analyst Stephen Scouten downgraded Nashville, Tenn.-based FB Financial Corp. to "hold" from "buy" because he said he believes its shares are more fully valued at present.

He lowered his 2019 EPS estimate by 7 cents to $2.77 and his 2020 estimate by 13 cents to $2.80.

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Scouten also downgraded Baton Rouge, La.-based Investar Holding Corp. to "hold" from "buy" following its expansion into Alabama with the completion of its acquisition of Bank of York.

The company is also expanding its Texas footprint with its announced branch purchases. Following those deal announcements, the company's shares are up about 16.8% from the year-to-date low and are slightly outperforming the NASDAQ Bank Index, according to Scouten.

His EPS estimates are $1.90 for 2019 and $1.95 for 2020.

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Compass Point analyst Laurie Hunsicker downgraded Westerly, R.I.-based Washington Trust Bancorp Inc. due to recent price appreciation and a more challenging net interest margin environment.

The analyst downgraded the company's stock rating to "neutral" from "buy" and lowered the price target to $53 from $54. She lowered her 2019 EPS estimate to $4.03 from $4.07 and her 2020 EPS estimate to $3.98 from $4.16.

Initiation

Gabelli Securities research analyst Steve Comery initiated coverage of Rockland, Mass.-based Independent Bank Corp., the holding company of Rockland Trust Co.

Rockland Trust has a proven track record of accretive acquisitions and disciplined expense management despite the significant cost of those acquisitions, the analyst wrote.

The analyst initiated coverage of the company with a "hold" rating and a 2020 private market value of $98 per share. His EPS estimates are $5.60 for 2019 and $5.70 for 2020.