Cullen/Frost Bankers (CFR) Rating Lowered to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Cullen/Frost Bankers (NYSE:CFR) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note published on Tuesday morning.

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.”

CFR has been the topic of several other research reports. Deutsche Bank upped their price objective on Cullen/Frost Bankers from $96.00 to $102.00 and gave the company a hold rating in a research note on Wednesday, November 8th. Barclays increased their target price on Cullen/Frost Bankers from $97.00 to $106.00 and gave the stock an equal weight rating in a research note on Monday, October 30th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. increased their target price on Cullen/Frost Bankers from $88.00 to $91.00 and gave the stock a neutral rating in a research note on Monday, October 30th. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reiterated a hold rating and set a $95.00 target price on shares of Cullen/Frost Bankers in a research note on Friday, September 29th. Finally, Jefferies Group reiterated a hold rating and set a $103.00 target price on shares of Cullen/Frost Bankers in a research note on Wednesday, October 11th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have issued a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $102.19.

Cullen/Frost Bankers (NYSE CFR) traded down $0.23 during trading hours on Tuesday, reaching $100.90. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 351,350 shares, compared to its average volume of 372,856. The company has a quick ratio of 0.65, a current ratio of 0.65 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.08. The company has a market capitalization of $6,360.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.33, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.74 and a beta of 1.33. Cullen/Frost Bankers has a 12-month low of $81.09 and a 12-month high of $103.37.

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

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, December 15th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, November 30th were paid a dividend of $0.57 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, November 29th. This represents a $2.28 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.26%. Cullen/Frost Bankers’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 43.68%.

Cullen/Frost Bankers declared that its Board of Directors has authorized a share buyback program on Thursday, October 26th that permits the company to buyback $150.00 million in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization permits the bank to buy up to 2.4% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are typically an indication that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.

In related news, insider Candace K. Wolfshohl sold 7,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, December 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $94.99, for a total transaction of $664,930.00. Following the sale, the insider now owns 9,145 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $868,683.55. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, insider Bobby Berman sold 41,760 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, October 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $100.53, for a total value of $4,198,132.80. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 38,596 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,880,055.88. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders have sold 60,760 shares of company stock worth $6,058,863. 5.15% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Large investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Parallax Volatility Advisers L.P. grew its position in 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 buying an additional 602 shares in the last quarter. Tower Research Capital LLC TRC acquired a new stake in Cullen/Frost Bankers during the second quarter worth approximately $114,000. Westwood Holdings Group Inc. acquired a new stake in Cullen/Frost Bankers during the second quarter worth approximately $131,000. Fiduciary Trust Co. acquired a new stake in Cullen/Frost Bankers during the second quarter worth approximately $136,000. Finally, Meeder Asset Management Inc. grew its position in 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 buying an additional 531 shares in the last quarter. 80.97% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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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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