Zacks Investment Research Lowers Cullen/Frost Bankers (CFR) to Hold

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Cullen/Frost Bankers (NYSE:CFR) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report released on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Cullen/Frost have outperformed the industry in 2017. Also, the company boasts an impressive earnings surprise history. It has surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in all of the trailing four quarters. With a rising interest rate environment and improving non-interest bearing deposits, the company's net interest income and net interest margin is expected to grow. Also, the company steady capital deployment activities reflect strong balance sheet position. However, company’s risky loan portfolio and rising costs stemming mainly from expanding franchise are likely to deter bottom-line growth to some extent.”

A number of other equities analysts have also commented on CFR. Barclays raised their price objective on shares of Cullen/Frost Bankers from $106.00 to $110.00 and gave the company an equal weight rating in a research report on Tuesday, January 2nd. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods restated a hold rating and issued a $95.00 price objective on shares of Cullen/Frost Bankers in a research report on Friday, September 29th. SunTrust Banks restated a buy rating and issued a $116.00 price objective on shares of Cullen/Frost Bankers in a research report on Wednesday, November 29th. Morgan Stanley raised their price objective on shares of Cullen/Frost Bankers from $96.00 to $107.00 and gave the company an equal weight rating in a research report on Wednesday, December 13th. Finally, Citigroup upgraded shares of Cullen/Frost Bankers to a market perform rating in a research report on Friday, October 27th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have given a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $102.19.

Cullen/Frost Bankers (CFR) traded down $0.23 during mid-day trading on Tuesday, hitting $100.90. 351,350 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 330,580. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.08, a current ratio of 0.65 and a quick ratio of 0.65. Cullen/Frost Bankers has a one year low of $81.09 and a one year high of $103.37. The company has a market capitalization of $6,387.83, a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.18, a P/E/G ratio of 1.74 and a beta of 1.33.

Cullen/Frost Bankers (NYSE:CFR) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 26th. The bank reported $1.41 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.31 by $0.10. Cullen/Frost Bankers had a net margin of 28.86% and a return on equity of 11.64%. The company had revenue of $300.83 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $329.62 million. During the same period last year, the business earned $1.24 earnings per share. analysts anticipate that Cullen/Frost Bankers will post 5.38 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Cullen/Frost Bankers announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a stock repurchase plan on Thursday, October 26th that authorizes the company to buyback $150.00 million in shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the bank to repurchase up to 2.4% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are typically an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, December 15th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, November 30th were given a dividend of $0.57 per share. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, November 29th. This represents a $2.28 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.26%. Cullen/Frost Bankers’s payout ratio is presently 43.35%.

In other Cullen/Frost Bankers news, insider Bobby Berman sold 41,760 shares of Cullen/Frost Bankers stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, October 27th. The shares were sold at an average price of $100.53, for a total transaction of $4,198,132.80. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 38,596 shares in the company, valued at $3,880,055.88. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, CFO Jerry Salinas sold 12,000 shares of Cullen/Frost Bankers stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, November 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $99.65, for a total transaction of $1,195,800.00. Following the sale, the chief financial officer now owns 24,184 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,409,935.60. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders have sold 60,760 shares of company stock valued at $6,058,863. 5.15% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the business. Parallax Volatility Advisers L.P. raised its stake in shares of Cullen/Frost Bankers by 124.1% during the second quarter. Parallax Volatility Advisers L.P. now owns 1,087 shares of the bank’s stock worth $102,000 after acquiring an additional 602 shares in the last quarter. Tower Research Capital LLC TRC purchased a new position in shares of Cullen/Frost Bankers during the second quarter worth approximately $114,000. Westwood Holdings Group Inc. purchased a new position in shares of Cullen/Frost Bankers during the second quarter worth approximately $131,000. Fiduciary Trust Co. purchased a new position in shares of Cullen/Frost Bankers during the second quarter worth approximately $136,000. Finally, Meeder Asset Management Inc. raised its stake in shares of Cullen/Frost Bankers by 50.6% during the third quarter. Meeder Asset Management Inc. now owns 1,580 shares of the bank’s stock worth $150,000 after acquiring an additional 531 shares in the last quarter. 80.97% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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About Cullen/Frost Bankers

Cullen/Frost Bankers, Inc is a financial holding company and a bank holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, provides a range of products and services throughout Texas markets. The Company’s segments include Banking, Frost Wealth Advisors and Non-Banks. The Banking segment includes both commercial and consumer banking services, and Frost Insurance Agency.

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