Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Citizens Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE:CFG) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note issued to investors on Thursday morning.

According to Zacks, “Citizens Financial’s shares have outperformed the industry over the last six months. The company surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in second-quarter 2017. The results benefited from increased revenues and loan growth, partially offset by higher expenses. It remains on track to implement TOP III efficiency initiatives, which are expected to boost earnings performance further. The company also launched TOP IV initiatives which are expected to achieve pre-tax benefit of $90-$105 million by the end of 2018. Following the three Fed rate hikes since Dec 2016, margin pressure seems to be easing. Also, the company continues to benefit from improving loans and deposit balances, and is well positioned to grow further as the U.S. economy is gaining traction. However, higher costs resulting from pending legal hassles remain a major concern for Citizens Financial.”

Several other brokerages have also recently weighed in on CFG. BidaskClub upgraded shares of Citizens Financial Group from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Saturday, July 8th. Citigroup Inc. reiterated a hold rating on shares of Citizens Financial Group in a research note on Friday, April 21st. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods set a $40.00 price target on shares of Citizens Financial Group and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Tuesday, April 4th. Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. reiterated a hold rating on shares of Citizens Financial Group in a research note on Thursday, June 22nd. Finally, Rafferty Capital Markets reiterated a buy rating and set a $40.00 price target (up previously from $36.00) on shares of Citizens Financial Group in a research note on Monday, April 24th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have assigned a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $35.19.

Shares of Citizens Financial Group (CFG) opened at 34.94 on Thursday. Citizens Financial Group has a one year low of $21.92 and a one year high of $39.75. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $35.90 and its 200-day moving average is $35.97. The company has a market cap of $17.68 billion, a PE ratio of 14.92 and a beta of 1.33.

Citizens Financial Group (NYSE:CFG) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Friday, July 21st. The bank reported $0.63 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.59 by $0.04. The business had revenue of $1.40 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.40 billion. Citizens Financial Group had a net margin of 19.86% and a return on equity of 6.08%. The company’s revenue was up 9.2% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $0.46 EPS. On average, equities analysts anticipate that Citizens Financial Group will post $2.52 EPS for the current year.

ILLEGAL ACTIVITY NOTICE: This piece was reported by Watch List News and is the sole property of of Watch List News. If you are accessing this piece on another publication, it was copied illegally and republished in violation of U.S. and international copyright & trademark law. The legal version of this piece can be viewed at https://www.watchlistnews.com/citizens-financial-group-inc-cfg-cut-to-hold-at-zacks-investment-research/1463679.html.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, August 16th. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, August 2nd will be given a dividend of $0.18 per share. This represents a $0.72 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.06%. This is an increase from Citizens Financial Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.14. The ex-dividend date is Monday, July 31st. Citizens Financial Group’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 23.83%.

Citizens Financial Group announced that its Board of Directors has approved a stock buyback plan on Wednesday, June 28th that permits the company to buyback $850.00 million in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization permits the bank to repurchase up to 4.8% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are generally a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

Several hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in CFG. FTB Advisors Inc. raised its position in Citizens Financial Group by 39.5% in the first quarter. FTB Advisors Inc. now owns 3,381 shares of the bank’s stock worth $124,000 after buying an additional 957 shares in the last quarter. Coconut Grove Bank raised its position in Citizens Financial Group by 59.1% in the first quarter. Coconut Grove Bank now owns 4,845 shares of the bank’s stock worth $167,000 after buying an additional 1,800 shares in the last quarter. Advisor Partners LLC acquired a new position in Citizens Financial Group during the first quarter worth approximately $203,000. IFP Advisors Inc raised its position in Citizens Financial Group by 9.3% in the first quarter. IFP Advisors Inc now owns 5,899 shares of the bank’s stock worth $204,000 after buying an additional 504 shares in the last quarter. Finally, CENTRAL TRUST Co raised its position in Citizens Financial Group by 22.7% in the first quarter. CENTRAL TRUST Co now owns 6,117 shares of the bank’s stock worth $211,000 after buying an additional 1,130 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 95.95% of the company’s stock.

Citizens Financial Group Company Profile

Citizens Financial Group, Inc is a retail bank holding company. The Company operates through two segments: Consumer Banking and Commercial Banking. Its Consumer Banking serves retail customers and small businesses. Consumer Banking products and services include deposit products, mortgage and home equity lending, auto financing, student loans, personal unsecured lines and loans, credit cards, business loans, wealth management and investment services.

Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on Citizens Financial Group (CFG)

For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com

Analyst Recommendations for Citizens Financial Group (NYSE:CFG)

Receive News & Ratings for Citizens Financial Group Inc. Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for Citizens Financial Group Inc. and related companies with Analyst Ratings Network's FREE daily email newsletter.