Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of SunTrust Banks Inc. (NYSE:STI) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report sent to investors on Wednesday. They currently have $49.00 price target on the financial services provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “SunTrust’s cost saving strategies has borne positive results as it continues to witness a downward trend in expenses.  Further, the company remains well positioned for future growth given its improving credit quality. Also, the gradually stabilizing energy sector as well as economic recovery will aid the company’s credit quality. Moreover, the company's steady capital deployment activities enhance shareholder value. However, a persistent low interest rate scenario affects the company’s top line items. NIM will continue to remain under pressure unless there is any significant increase in interest rates. Also, exposure to risky assets and increasing dependence on residential and commercial loan portfolio is expected to weigh on the company’s profitability in the near term.”

Analyst Recommendations for SunTrust Banks (NYSE:STI)

A number of other research firms have also weighed in on STI. Credit Suisse Group AG reiterated a sell rating on shares of SunTrust Banks in a research note on Tuesday, July 12th. Compass Point lifted their price objective on SunTrust Banks from $45.00 to $48.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Tuesday, July 26th. Deutsche Bank AG reiterated a buy rating on shares of SunTrust Banks in a research note on Wednesday, June 15th. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods restated a market perform rating and set a $45.00 target price on shares of SunTrust Banks in a research report on Friday, July 15th. Finally, Portales Partners upgraded SunTrust Banks from a sector perform rating to an outperform rating in a research report on Tuesday, June 28th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have given a hold rating, thirteen have issued a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average target price of $44.00.

SunTrust Banks (NYSE:STI) traded up 0.11% during midday trading on Wednesday, hitting $44.34. The company had a trading volume of 328,245 shares. The firm has a market capitalization of $22.23 billion, a P/E ratio of 12.01 and a beta of 1.31. SunTrust Banks has a 1-year low of $31.07 and a 1-year high of $45.24. The company has a 50 day moving average price of $43.12 and a 200 day moving average price of $41.08.

SunTrust Banks (NYSE:STI) last released its quarterly earnings data on Friday, July 22nd. The financial services provider reported $0.94 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.88 by $0.06. The business earned $2.19 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.14 billion. SunTrust Banks had a return on equity of 8.53% and a net margin of 22.31%. The company’s revenue was up 6.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $0.89 EPS. Equities research analysts forecast that SunTrust Banks will post $3.51 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, September 15th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, August 31st were given a $0.26 dividend. This is a positive change from SunTrust Banks’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.24. The ex-dividend date was Monday, August 29th. This represents a $1.04 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.35%. SunTrust Banks’s payout ratio is presently 28.18%.

In other SunTrust Banks news, insider Susan S. Johnson sold 1,118 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, July 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $42.40, for a total value of $47,403.20. Following the sale, the insider now owns 1,119 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $47,445.60. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. 0.67% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in STI. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its stake in shares of SunTrust Banks by 4.2% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 32,829,325 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $1,348,629,000 after buying an additional 1,335,505 shares during the last quarter. FMR LLC increased its position in SunTrust Banks by 6.5% in the second quarter. FMR LLC now owns 31,288,755 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $1,285,342,000 after buying an additional 1,918,166 shares during the period. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. increased its position in SunTrust Banks by 2.4% in the first quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. now owns 13,808,075 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $498,195,000 after buying an additional 329,018 shares during the period. American Century Companies Inc. increased its position in SunTrust Banks by 64.4% in the second quarter. American Century Companies Inc. now owns 8,267,226 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $339,618,000 after buying an additional 3,238,624 shares during the period. Finally, BlackRock Investment Management LLC increased its position in SunTrust Banks by 10.8% in the second quarter. BlackRock Investment Management LLC now owns 7,702,533 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $316,420,000 after buying an additional 749,340 shares during the period. 82.37% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

About SunTrust Banks

SunTrust Banks, Inc is a bank holding company and a financial holding company. Through its principal subsidiary, SunTrust Bank, the Company offers a line of financial services for consumers and businesses, including deposit, credit, mortgage banking, and trust and investment services. The Company’s other subsidiaries provide asset and wealth management, securities brokerage, and capital market services.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:STI

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