Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Associated Banc (NYSE:ASB) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note published on Tuesday morning.

According to Zacks, “Associated Banc-Corp’s shares have underperformed the industry in the past six months. Yet, the company has an impressive earnings surprise history, having surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the trailing four quarters. The company’s fourth-quarter 2017 results benefited from higher net interest income and absence of provision for loan losses. Higher interest rates, rise in loan demand and improving asset quality will continue to support its profitability. Acquisitions of Bank Mutual and Whitnell will likely be accretive to its earnings. Also, lower tax rates are expected to help the company’s financials. However, mounting expenses are likely to hurt bottom-line growth. Also, the company's increased dependence on commercial loans remains a key near-term concern.”

ASB has been the subject of several other reports. Morgan Stanley reduced their price target on Associated Banc from $28.00 to $27.00 and set an equal weight rating for the company in a report on Wednesday, January 31st. Piper Jaffray Companies restated a hold rating and set a $27.00 price target on shares of Associated Banc in a report on Tuesday, January 9th. Barclays raised their price target on Associated Banc from $27.00 to $29.00 and gave the company an equal weight rating in a report on Tuesday, January 2nd. Finally, SunTrust Banks restated a hold rating and set a $27.00 price target on shares of Associated Banc in a report on Wednesday, November 29th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating and eleven have issued a hold rating to the stock. Associated Banc has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $26.30.

Associated Banc (ASB) opened at $24.10 on Tuesday. The company has a current ratio of 0.90, a quick ratio of 0.89 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.10. The company has a market capitalization of $4,143.31, a price-to-earnings ratio of 15.72, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.95 and a beta of 1.08. Associated Banc has a 52-week low of $20.95 and a 52-week high of $26.70.

Associated Banc (NYSE:ASB) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, January 25th. The bank reported $0.31 EPS for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.38 by ($0.07). Associated Banc had a net margin of 18.80% and a return on equity of 8.05%. The firm had revenue of $272.00 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $281.38 million. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $0.34 EPS. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 5.8% compared to the same quarter last year. equities research analysts forecast that Associated Banc will post 1.76 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, March 15th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, March 1st will be issued a dividend of $0.15 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, February 28th. This is an increase from Associated Banc’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.14. This represents a $0.60 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.49%. Associated Banc’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 39.16%.

In related news, insider Timothy J. Lau sold 10,000 shares of Associated Banc stock in a transaction dated Monday, February 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $24.01, for a total value of $240,100.00. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, insider William M. Bohn sold 15,946 shares of Associated Banc stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, November 29th. The stock was sold at an average price of $26.00, for a total value of $414,596.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 82,644 shares of company stock valued at $2,081,022 over the last quarter. 1.80% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. BlackRock Inc. grew its stake in shares of Associated Banc by 3.8% during the 4th quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 12,786,592 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $324,779,000 after purchasing an additional 471,331 shares during the period. State Street Corp grew its stake in shares of Associated Banc by 2.0% during the 2nd quarter. State Street Corp now owns 6,922,074 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $174,433,000 after purchasing an additional 136,874 shares during the period. Victory Capital Management Inc. grew its stake in shares of Associated Banc by 3.3% during the 3rd quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 5,178,754 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $125,585,000 after purchasing an additional 164,148 shares during the period. Alliancebernstein L.P. grew its stake in shares of Associated Banc by 4.2% during the 4th quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. now owns 4,609,209 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $117,074,000 after purchasing an additional 187,460 shares during the period. Finally, Bank of New York Mellon Corp grew its stake in shares of Associated Banc by 1.7% during the 3rd quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 3,790,033 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $91,909,000 after purchasing an additional 64,574 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 68.11% of the company’s stock.

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Associated Banc Company Profile

Associated Banc-Corp is a bank holding company. The Company, through its banking subsidiary Associated Bank, National Association (the Bank) and various nonbanking subsidiaries, provides a range of banking and non-banking products and services to individuals. The Company operates through three segments: Corporate and Commercial Specialty; Community, Consumer, and Business, and Risk Management and Shared Services.

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