Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of BancorpSouth, Inc. (NYSE:BXS) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report report published on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of BancorpSouth have outperformed the industry over the past six months. The performance was supported by the company’s impressive earnings surprise history.  It surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in three of the trailing four quarters. Given a strong balance sheet position, the company has been steadily enhancing shareholders’ value through strategic acquisitions, dividend hikes and share buybacks. Notably, the company has entered into an Agreement and Plan of Reorganization whereby BancorpSouth will be merged with and into its wholly-owned bank subsidiary, BancorpSouth Bank. Further, its efforts to enhance non-interest income will go a long way in supporting the bottom line. Though, continued pressure on margin due to lower yields remains a major concern, BancorpSouth’s expense management initiatives keep us encouraged.”

BXS has been the subject of a number of other reports. Brean Capital restated a hold rating on shares of BancorpSouth in a research note on Wednesday, August 2nd. Stephens set a $35.00 target price on BancorpSouth and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Thursday, July 27th. BidaskClub downgraded BancorpSouth from a sell rating to a strong sell rating in a report on Saturday, August 12th. Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed a hold rating and set a $33.00 price target on shares of BancorpSouth in a report on Friday, August 11th. Finally, Royal Bank Of Canada reaffirmed a hold rating and set a $31.00 price target on shares of BancorpSouth in a report on Friday, September 8th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. BancorpSouth presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $32.67.

BancorpSouth (NYSE:BXS) traded down 0.62% during midday trading on Tuesday, hitting $31.95. The stock had a trading volume of 114,676 shares. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $29.75 and its 200 day moving average price is $29.97. The company has a market cap of $2.91 billion, a P/E ratio of 19.67 and a beta of 1.43. BancorpSouth has a 12 month low of $22.23 and a 12 month high of $32.70.

BancorpSouth (NYSE:BXS) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, July 19th. The bank reported $0.42 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.40 by $0.02. BancorpSouth had a net margin of 19.46% and a return on equity of 8.77%. The business had revenue of $185.61 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $187.78 million. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $0.39 earnings per share. On average, analysts expect that BancorpSouth will post $1.66 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, October 2nd. Shareholders of record on Friday, September 15th were paid a $0.14 dividend. This is a boost from BancorpSouth’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.13. This represents a $0.56 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.74%. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, September 14th. BancorpSouth’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 34.57%.

A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of BXS. Piedmont Investment Advisors LLC raised its holdings in BancorpSouth by 20.5% during the 2nd quarter. Piedmont Investment Advisors LLC now owns 24,882 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $759,000 after buying an additional 4,236 shares during the period. Raymond James Financial Services Advisors Inc. bought a new position in BancorpSouth during the 2nd quarter valued at about $386,000. Arrowstreet Capital Limited Partnership bought a new position in BancorpSouth during the 2nd quarter valued at about $238,000. BlueCrest Capital Management Ltd bought a new position in BancorpSouth during the 2nd quarter valued at about $6,063,000. Finally, State Street Corp grew its holdings in BancorpSouth by 6.8% during the 2nd quarter. State Street Corp now owns 4,886,258 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $149,028,000 after purchasing an additional 310,447 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 65.24% 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.

Analyst Recommendations for BancorpSouth (NYSE:BXS)

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