BancorpSouth, Inc. (BXS) Cut to Sell at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of BancorpSouth, Inc. (NYSE:BXS) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “BancorpSouth’s shares underperformed the Zacks categorized Southeast Banks industry over the past six months. The company’s initiatives to enhance non-interest income and control costs will go a long way in supporting the bottom line. Further, given a strong balance sheet position, the company has been steadily enhancing shareholders’ value through strategic acquisitions, dividend hikes and share buybacks. However, continued pressure on margin remains a major concern for the company. Also, a stringent regulatory landscape may limit the company’s business operational flexibility and growth opportunities.”

Several other brokerages have also recently issued reports on BXS. Piper Jaffray Companies initiated coverage on BancorpSouth in a research report on Thursday, March 9th. They issued a neutral rating and a $30.00 target price on the stock. Stephens raised BancorpSouth from an equal weight rating to an overweight rating in a research report on Wednesday, December 21st. JMP Securities assumed coverage on BancorpSouth in a research report on Thursday, February 2nd. They set a market perform rating on the stock. Brean Capital assumed coverage on BancorpSouth in a research report on Tuesday, January 10th. They set a hold rating on the stock. Finally, Raymond James Financial, Inc. raised BancorpSouth from an underperform rating to a market perform rating in a research report on Thursday, December 22nd. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have issued a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the company. The stock has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $26.80.

Analyst Recommendations for BancorpSouth (NYSE:BXS)

Shares of BancorpSouth (NYSE:BXS) opened at 31.80 on Wednesday. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $30.86 and a 200 day moving average price of $27.85. BancorpSouth has a 52 week low of $20.19 and a 52 week high of $32.40. The stock has a market cap of $2.98 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 22.57 and a beta of 1.33.

BancorpSouth (NYSE:BXS) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, January 25th. The company reported $0.40 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.37 by $0.03. BancorpSouth had a return on equity of 8.70% and a net margin of 17.41%. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $0.33 EPS. On average, analysts forecast that BancorpSouth will post $1.62 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, April 3rd. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, March 15th will be given a dividend of $0.125 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, March 13th. This represents a $0.50 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.57%. BancorpSouth’s payout ratio is currently 35.46%.

In other news, insider William L. Prater sold 10,000 shares of BancorpSouth stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, March 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $31.75, for a total transaction of $317,500.00. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 33,367 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,059,402.25. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, insider William James Threadgill, Jr. sold 4,246 shares of BancorpSouth stock in a transaction dated Thursday, February 23rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $31.38, for a total value of $133,239.48. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 29,611 shares in the company, valued at $929,193.18. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders have sold 24,246 shares of company stock worth $758,239. Insiders own 3.93% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Retirement Systems of Alabama increased its stake in shares of BancorpSouth by 1.1% in the third quarter. Retirement Systems of Alabama now owns 110,895 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,573,000 after buying an additional 1,258 shares during the period. Diversified Trust Co acquired a new stake in shares of BancorpSouth during the third quarter valued at about $911,000. State Treasurer State of Michigan increased its stake in shares of BancorpSouth by 1.5% in the third quarter. State Treasurer State of Michigan now owns 34,600 shares of the company’s stock valued at $803,000 after buying an additional 500 shares during the period. Aperio Group LLC increased its stake in shares of BancorpSouth by 7.2% in the third quarter. Aperio Group LLC now owns 15,824 shares of the company’s stock valued at $367,000 after buying an additional 1,060 shares during the period. Finally, Arizona State Retirement System increased its stake in shares of BancorpSouth by 1.1% in the third quarter. Arizona State Retirement System now owns 35,873 shares of the company’s stock valued at $832,000 after buying an additional 400 shares during the period. 63.13% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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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