Webster Financial (NYSE:WBS) Rating Lowered to Sell at Zacks Investment Research

Webster Financial (NYSE:WBS) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note issued to investors on Saturday, Zacks.com reports. They presently have a $47.00 target price on the financial services provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price target suggests a potential upside of 0.17% from the company’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Webster Financial have underperformed the industry in the past six months. Also, earnings estimates have been revised downward ahead of the third quarter results. However, persistently rising costs are a major concern, which might be further elevated by the company's efforts to strengthen the HSA Bank segment. Also, high exposure in residential and commercial real estate loans can be risky if the housing sector weakens. Nevertheless, it possesses an impressive earnings surprise history, having surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the trailing four quarters. Webster Financial’s continued growth in loans and deposits will support profitability. Further, top-line strength and ample liquidity keep the optimism alive. Additionally, the company's margins are expected to continue benefiting from decent lending scenario.”

WBS has been the subject of a number of other research reports. Morgan Stanley dropped their price objective on shares of Webster Financial from $52.00 to $50.00 and set an “equal weight” rating for the company in a report on Thursday, October 3rd. Wells Fargo & Co dropped their price objective on shares of Webster Financial from $55.00 to $50.00 and set a “market perform” rating for the company in a report on Wednesday, October 2nd. Boenning Scattergood reissued a “neutral” rating on shares of Webster Financial in a report on Friday, July 19th. Finally, ValuEngine raised shares of Webster Financial from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, October 2nd. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have given a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $54.40.

Webster Financial stock opened at $46.92 on Friday. Webster Financial has a 52-week low of $42.29 and a 52-week high of $62.83. The firm has a market capitalization of $4.26 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 12.55, a PEG ratio of 1.41 and a beta of 1.29. The company has a fifty day simple moving average of $46.18 and a 200-day simple moving average of $48.19. The company has a quick ratio of 0.83, a current ratio of 0.83 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.67.

Webster Financial (NYSE:WBS) last released its earnings results on Thursday, July 18th. The financial services provider reported $1.05 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.03 by $0.02. Webster Financial had a net margin of 27.99% and a return on equity of 13.80%. The business had revenue of $317.60 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $312.36 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $0.86 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 8.2% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, research analysts anticipate that Webster Financial will post 4.09 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In other Webster Financial news, EVP Daniel Bley sold 2,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, July 31st. The shares were sold at an average price of $51.45, for a total value of $102,900.00. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 18,654 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $959,748.30. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, Director John Joseph Crawford sold 1,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, July 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $51.28, for a total transaction of $51,280.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 15,099 shares in the company, valued at approximately $774,276.72. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 4,000 shares of company stock valued at $203,670 in the last three months. 1.53% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of WBS. Wasatch Advisors Inc. lifted its position in Webster Financial by 28.2% in the second quarter. Wasatch Advisors Inc. now owns 2,000,712 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $95,574,000 after buying an additional 440,471 shares during the last quarter. Nuveen Asset Management LLC acquired a new position in Webster Financial in the second quarter valued at about $15,391,000. Bayview Asset Management LLC acquired a new position in Webster Financial in the second quarter valued at about $14,358,000. Renaissance Technologies LLC lifted its position in Webster Financial by 74.1% in the second quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 589,131 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $28,143,000 after buying an additional 250,800 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Bank of New York Mellon Corp lifted its position in Webster Financial by 11.0% in the second quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 2,501,800 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $119,511,000 after buying an additional 248,126 shares during the last quarter. 88.48% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Webster Financial Company Profile

Webster Financial Corporation operates as the holding company for Webster Bank, National Association that provides a range of banking, investment, and financial services to individuals, families, and businesses in the United States. It operates through three segments: Commercial Banking, HSA Bank, and Community Banking.

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