Citizens Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE:CFG) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report issued on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Citizens Financial have outperformed the industry year to date. This performance was supported by the company’s impressive earnings surprise history. It hasn’t missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in any of the trailing four quarters. It remains on track to implement TOP III efficiency initiatives, which are expected to boost earnings performance further. The company also launched TOP IV initiatives which are expected to achieve pre-tax benefit of $90-$105 million by the end of 2018. Following the Fed rate hikes so far, margin pressure seems to be easing. Also, the company continues to benefit from improving loans and deposit balances, and is well positioned to grow further as the U.S. economy is gaining traction. However, higher costs resulting from pending legal hassles remain a major concern.”

Other equities analysts also recently issued research reports about the company. BidaskClub downgraded Citizens Financial Group from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a report on Monday, August 14th. Sanford C. Bernstein upgraded Citizens Financial Group from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating and increased their price target for the company from $38.00 to $43.00 in a report on Thursday. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods set a $40.00 price target on Citizens Financial Group and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, August 11th. Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Citizens Financial Group in a report on Thursday, June 22nd. Finally, Citigroup Inc. reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Citizens Financial Group in a report on Thursday, June 22nd. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and seven have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $35.75.

Shares of Citizens Financial Group (CFG) traded down 0.733% on Friday, hitting $34.525. 1,520,283 shares of the stock traded hands. Citizens Financial Group has a 12-month low of $23.81 and a 12-month high of $39.75. The stock has a market cap of $17.29 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 14.742 and a beta of 1.32. The stock has a 50-day moving average price of $33.99 and a 200 day moving average price of $35.35.

Citizens Financial Group (NYSE:CFG) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Friday, July 21st. The bank reported $0.63 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.59 by $0.04. Citizens Financial Group had a return on equity of 6.08% and a net margin of 19.86%. The company had revenue of $1.40 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.40 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $0.46 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 9.2% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts anticipate that Citizens Financial Group will post $2.53 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Citizens Financial Group announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a stock repurchase program on Wednesday, June 28th that authorizes the company to repurchase $850.00 million in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the bank to buy up to 4.8% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are usually an indication that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

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Institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. JPMorgan Chase & Co. grew its stake in shares of Citizens Financial Group by 2.4% in the first quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 16,827,697 shares of the bank’s stock worth $581,396,000 after acquiring an additional 391,502 shares during the last quarter. Mitsubishi UFJ Trust & Banking Corp grew its stake in shares of Citizens Financial Group by 4.4% in the second quarter. Mitsubishi UFJ Trust & Banking Corp now owns 1,133,028 shares of the bank’s stock worth $40,426,000 after acquiring an additional 47,855 shares during the last quarter. Intrust Bank NA acquired a new stake in shares of Citizens Financial Group in the second quarter worth $267,000. Ameriprise Financial Inc. grew its stake in shares of Citizens Financial Group by 32.7% in the first quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 1,920,287 shares of the bank’s stock worth $66,349,000 after acquiring an additional 473,580 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Toronto Dominion Bank grew its stake in shares of Citizens Financial Group by 58.8% in the first quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank now owns 140,245 shares of the bank’s stock worth $4,846,000 after acquiring an additional 51,911 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 96.86% of the company’s stock.

About Citizens Financial Group

Citizens Financial Group, Inc is a retail bank holding company. The Company operates through two segments: Consumer Banking and Commercial Banking. Its Consumer Banking serves retail customers and small businesses. Consumer Banking products and services include deposit products, mortgage and home equity lending, auto financing, student loans, personal unsecured lines and loans, credit cards, business loans, wealth management and investment services.

Analyst Recommendations for Citizens Financial Group (NYSE:CFG)

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