BancorpSouth Inc. (NYSE:BXS) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued on Monday.

According to Zacks, “BancorpSouth seems well positioned for long-term growth, given its continued improvement in asset quality and opportunistic acquisitions. Moreover, efficient capital deployment enhances shareholders’ value. Additionally, the company’s efforts toward expense management will likely boost bottom-line growth in the upcoming quarters. However, the bank continues to face margin pressure amid the low rate environment. Further, revenue challenges linger from a muted growth in non-interest income. Additionally, a stringent regulatory landscape limits the company’s business growth opportunities.”

A number of other research analysts have also weighed in on the company. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods upgraded BancorpSouth from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating and raised their price objective for the company from $24.00 to $25.00 in a report on Thursday, June 30th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. reiterated a “hold” rating and set a $24.00 price target on shares of BancorpSouth in a report on Friday, July 22nd. Finally, FBR & Co reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of BancorpSouth in a report on Saturday, July 9th. Six equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company. The company has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $24.71.

BancorpSouth (NYSE:BXS) opened at 23.59 on Monday. BancorpSouth has a one year low of $18.69 and a one year high of $27.23. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $24.21 and its 200 day moving average is $22.90. The company has a market capitalization of $2.23 billion, a PE ratio of 19.84 and a beta of 1.36.

BancorpSouth (NYSE:BXS) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, July 20th. The company reported $0.39 earnings per share for the quarter, meeting analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.39. BancorpSouth had a return on equity of 8.36% and a net margin of 15.25%. During the same period last year, the company posted $0.41 EPS. On average, equities analysts expect that BancorpSouth will post $1.52 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 3rd. Investors of record on Thursday, September 15th will be issued a $0.125 dividend. This is a positive change from BancorpSouth’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.10. This represents a $0.50 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.12%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, September 13th. BancorpSouth’s payout ratio is 42.02%.

In related news, insider James Ronald Hodges sold 4,543 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, August 22nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $24.01, for a total value of $109,077.43. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 26,900 shares in the company, valued at approximately $645,869. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. 3.93% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Northwestern Mutual Investment Management Company LLC raised its stake in shares of BancorpSouth by 0.3% in the second quarter. Northwestern Mutual Investment Management Company LLC now owns 14,673 shares of the company’s stock valued at $333,000 after buying an additional 41 shares during the period. Mason Street Advisors LLC purchased a new position in BancorpSouth during the second quarter valued at $879,000. Legal & General Group Plc increased its position in BancorpSouth by 0.8% in the second quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 23,695 shares of the company’s stock valued at $537,000 after buying an additional 191 shares in the last quarter. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. NY increased its position in BancorpSouth by 1.7% in the second quarter. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. NY now owns 144,524 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,279,000 after buying an additional 2,366 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Cubist Systematic Strategies LLC purchased a new position in BancorpSouth during the second quarter valued at $399,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 62.98% of the company’s stock.

BancorpSouth Company Profile

BancorpSouth, Inc is a financial holding company. The Company, through its principal bank subsidiary, BancorpSouth Bank (the Bank), conducts commercial banking and financial services operations in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas and Illinois. The Company’s segments include Community Banking, Insurance Agencies, and General Corporate and Other.

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