Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Citizens Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE:CFG) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report report published on Friday morning.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Citizens Financial have outperformed the industry over the past year. This performance was supported by the company’s impressive earnings surprise history. It surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in all the trailing four quarters. The company remains on track to implement TOP III efficiency initiatives, which are expected to boost earnings performance further. It also launched TOP IV initiatives which are expected to achieve pre-tax benefit of $90-$105 million by the end of 2018. Further, the company continues to benefit from improving loans and deposit balances, and is well positioned to grow as the U.S. economy is gaining traction. However, higher costs resulting from pending legal hassles remain a major concern. Also, Citizens Financial's significant exposure to commercial loans keeps us apprehensive.”

A number of other brokerages have also issued reports on CFG. BidaskClub raised shares of Citizens Financial Group from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Saturday, July 8th. Sanford C. Bernstein raised shares of Citizens Financial Group from a market perform rating to an outperform rating and lifted their target price for the company from $38.00 to $43.00 in a research note on Thursday, September 14th. TheStreet raised shares of Citizens Financial Group from a c rating to a b- rating in a research note on Monday, August 7th. Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. reissued a hold rating on shares of Citizens Financial Group in a research note on Thursday, June 22nd. Finally, BMO Capital Markets initiated coverage on shares of Citizens Financial Group in a research note on Thursday, May 25th. They set a market perform rating and a $39.00 target price for the company. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have issued a hold rating and seven have assigned a buy rating to the company. Citizens Financial Group presently has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $35.88.

Citizens Financial Group (NYSE:CFG) opened at 36.35 on Friday. The company has a 50 day moving average price of $34.03 and a 200 day moving average price of $35.26. Citizens Financial Group has a 12 month low of $23.81 and a 12 month high of $39.75. The stock has a market capitalization of $18.20 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 15.52 and a beta of 1.32.

Citizens Financial Group (NYSE:CFG) last issued its earnings results on Friday, July 21st. The bank reported $0.63 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.59 by $0.04. The company had revenue of $1.40 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.40 billion. Citizens Financial Group had a net margin of 19.86% and a return on equity of 6.08%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 9.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $0.46 EPS. Equities research analysts predict that Citizens Financial Group will post $2.53 earnings per share for the current year.

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Citizens Financial Group declared that its Board of Directors has approved a stock repurchase program on Wednesday, June 28th that permits the company to repurchase $850.00 million in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization permits the bank to buy up to 4.8% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are often a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in CFG. Sun Life Financial INC raised its holdings in Citizens Financial Group by 41,266.7% in the 2nd quarter. Sun Life Financial INC now owns 3,723 shares of the bank’s stock worth $133,000 after acquiring an additional 3,714 shares during the period. Smithfield Trust Co. raised its holdings in Citizens Financial Group by 1.4% in the 2nd quarter. Smithfield Trust Co. now owns 4,994 shares of the bank’s stock worth $178,000 after acquiring an additional 70 shares during the period. Colony Group LLC bought a new position in Citizens Financial Group in the 2nd quarter worth $210,000. Greenwood Capital Associates LLC bought a new position in Citizens Financial Group in the 1st quarter worth $211,000. Finally, Courier Capital LLC bought a new position in Citizens Financial Group in the 2nd quarter worth $214,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 96.76% 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.

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Analyst Recommendations for Citizens Financial Group (NYSE:CFG)

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