Sandler O’Neill Upgrades Associated Banc (ASB) to Buy

Associated Banc (NYSE:ASB) was upgraded by equities research analysts at Sandler O’Neill from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued on Friday, The Fly reports.

Several other analysts also recently commented on ASB. ValuEngine raised Associated Banc from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, March 7th. Zacks Investment Research raised Associated Banc from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $29.00 price objective on the stock in a research note on Tuesday, January 2nd. Morgan Stanley dropped their price objective on Associated Banc from $28.00 to $27.00 and set an “equal weight” rating on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, January 31st. Barclays raised their price objective on Associated Banc from $27.00 to $29.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Tuesday, January 2nd. Finally, Piper Jaffray reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $26.00 price objective on shares of Associated Banc in a research note on Sunday, January 28th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $26.50.

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NYSE:ASB opened at $24.55 on Friday. Associated Banc has a 12-month low of $20.95 and a 12-month high of $27.20. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.10, a quick ratio of 0.89 and a current ratio of 0.90. The firm has a market capitalization of $3,670.85, a PE ratio of 16.15, a P/E/G ratio of 1.96 and a beta of 1.00.

Associated Banc (NYSE:ASB) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, April 19th. The bank reported $0.50 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.41 by $0.09. Associated Banc had a return on equity of 8.05% and a net margin of 18.80%. During the same period last year, the company posted $0.35 EPS. analysts forecast that Associated Banc will post 1.76 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In other Associated Banc news, EVP John P. Hankerd sold 8,012 shares of Associated Banc stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, February 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $23.95, for a total value of $191,887.40. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 27,648 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $662,169.60. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, CFO Moral-Niles Christopher Del sold 4,000 shares of Associated Banc stock in a transaction dated Monday, March 12th. The shares were sold at an average price of $26.59, for a total value of $106,360.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 142,568 shares of company stock worth $3,621,898 in the last ninety days. 2.13% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. BlackRock Inc. raised its stake in shares of Associated Banc by 3.8% in the 4th quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 12,786,592 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $324,779,000 after purchasing an additional 471,331 shares during the period. Alliancebernstein L.P. raised its stake in shares of Associated Banc by 4.2% in the 4th quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. now owns 4,609,209 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $117,074,000 after purchasing an additional 187,460 shares during the period. Cramer Rosenthal Mcglynn LLC raised its stake in shares of Associated Banc by 2.0% in the 4th quarter. Cramer Rosenthal Mcglynn LLC now owns 3,746,357 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $95,157,000 after purchasing an additional 71,836 shares during the period. Wells Fargo & Company MN raised its stake in shares of Associated Banc by 5.8% in the 4th quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 1,883,424 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $47,840,000 after purchasing an additional 102,432 shares during the period. Finally, Geode Capital Management LLC raised its stake in shares of Associated Banc by 1.8% in the 4th quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 1,294,785 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $32,887,000 after purchasing an additional 22,311 shares during the period. 77.51% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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Associated Banc Company Profile

Associated Banc-Corp, a bank holding company, provides various banking and nonbanking products to individuals and businesses primarily in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota. Its Corporate and Commercial Specialty segment offers deposit and cash management solutions, such as commercial checking and interest-bearing deposit products, cash vault and night depository services, liquidity solutions, payables and receivables solutions, and information services; and lending solutions, including commercial loans and lines of credit, commercial real estate financing, construction loans, letters of credit, leasing, asset based lending, and loan syndications.

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