Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Investar (NASDAQ:ISTR) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report published on Friday morning, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “Investar Holding Corporation is a bank holding company for Investar Bank. It offers a range of commercial and retail lending products throughout its market areas, including business loans to small to medium-sized businesses and professional concerns, as well as loans to individuals. The company accepts various deposit products, including savings, checking, money market, and NOW accounts, as well as various certificates of deposit and individual retirement accounts. It also provides cash management products and services, such as remote deposit capture, electronic statements, positive pay, ACH origination and wire transfer, investment sweep accounts, and business Internet banking, as well as debit cards and mobile banking services. Investar Holding Corporation is headquartered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. “

Separately, ValuEngine downgraded shares of Investar from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note on Friday, March 15th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, one has issued a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $28.75.

ISTR opened at $22.56 on Friday. Investar has a 1-year low of $19.49 and a 1-year high of $29.90. The company has a quick ratio of 1.03, a current ratio of 1.03 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.23. The firm has a market capitalization of $233.17 million, a price-to-earnings ratio of 13.76 and a beta of 0.20.

Investar (NASDAQ:ISTR) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Monday, January 28th. The financial services provider reported $0.45 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.43 by $0.02. Investar had a net margin of 17.40% and a return on equity of 9.02%. The firm had revenue of $15.64 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $15.93 million. On average, equities analysts predict that Investar will post 1.89 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, April 30th. Shareholders of record on Monday, April 8th will be paid a $0.052 dividend. This is an increase from Investar’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.05. This represents a $0.21 annualized dividend and a yield of 0.92%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, April 5th. Investar’s payout ratio is 12.80%.

In related news, Director Robert Chris Jordan purchased 5,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, March 15th. The stock was purchased at an average cost of $23.50 per share, with a total value of $117,500.00. Following the completion of the purchase, the director now owns 34,858 shares in the company, valued at approximately $819,163. The acquisition was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, Director Andrew C. Nelson purchased 2,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, January 31st. The stock was bought at an average cost of $24.03 per share, with a total value of $48,060.00. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders acquired 7,383 shares of company stock valued at $174,635. Insiders own 9.07% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. BlackRock Inc. grew its holdings in shares of Investar by 2.2% during the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 443,336 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $10,995,000 after buying an additional 9,507 shares during the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc grew its holdings in shares of Investar by 0.4% during the third quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 387,878 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $10,414,000 after buying an additional 1,687 shares during the last quarter. RMB Capital Management LLC grew its holdings in shares of Investar by 3.6% during the fourth quarter. RMB Capital Management LLC now owns 279,608 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $6,934,000 after buying an additional 9,680 shares during the last quarter. Mendon Capital Advisors Corp grew its holdings in shares of Investar by 1,121.6% during the fourth quarter. Mendon Capital Advisors Corp now owns 271,907 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $6,743,000 after buying an additional 249,648 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Royce & Associates LP grew its holdings in shares of Investar by 33.8% during the fourth quarter. Royce & Associates LP now owns 169,900 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $4,214,000 after buying an additional 42,900 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 54.73% of the company’s stock.

About Investar

Investar Holding Corporation operates as the bank holding company for Investar Bank that provides a range of commercial banking products for individuals and small to medium-sized businesses in South Louisiana. The company offers various deposit products and services, such as savings, checking, money market, and individual retirement accounts, as well as various certificates of deposit; debit cards; and mobile banking services.

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