Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Webster Financial (NYSE:WBS) to Buy

Webster Financial (NYSE:WBS) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued on Wednesday, December 20th. The firm presently has a $64.00 target price on the financial services provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price target suggests a potential upside of 7.42% from the stock’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Webster Financial have outperformed the industry over the past six months. The performance was supported by the company’s impressive earnings surprise history. It hasn’t missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in any of the trailing four quarters.  Webster Financial’s consistent growth in loans and deposits will aid profitability. Also, top-line strength and ample liquidity keep us encouraged. Notably, following the recent Fed interest rate hike, the company raised its prime lending rate to 4.50% from 4.25%, which will further support revenue growth. However, consistently rising cost base remains a major concern and significant exposure to commercial loans could pose a threat to its financials. Nevertheless, its efforts to strengthen HSA Bank segment bode well for the long term.”

WBS has been the subject of a number of other reports. ValuEngine upgraded Webster Financial from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, September 1st. Boenning Scattergood restated a “hold” rating on shares of Webster Financial in a research report on Friday, October 20th. Wells Fargo & Co increased their price objective on Webster Financial from $50.00 to $55.00 and gave the stock a “market perform” rating in a research report on Friday, October 20th. Barclays set a $55.00 price objective on Webster Financial and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, October 20th. Finally, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $63.00 price objective on shares of Webster Financial in a research report on Friday, October 20th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have assigned a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $58.67.

Shares of Webster Financial (NYSE:WBS) traded up $0.58 during mid-day trading on Wednesday, hitting $59.58. The stock had a trading volume of 446,408 shares, compared to its average volume of 575,055. The firm has a market cap of $5,846.88, a PE ratio of 23.55, a PEG ratio of 2.32 and a beta of 1.22. Webster Financial has a fifty-two week low of $44.04 and a fifty-two week high of $59.76. The company has a current ratio of 0.81, a quick ratio of 0.81 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.69.

Webster Financial (NYSE:WBS) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, October 19th. The financial services provider reported $0.67 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.64 by $0.03. Webster Financial had a return on equity of 9.89% and a net margin of 21.09%. The business had revenue of $266.75 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $269.03 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $0.54 earnings per share. research analysts expect that Webster Financial will post 2.6 EPS for the current year.

In other Webster Financial news, Chairman James Copenhaver Smith sold 8,943 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, October 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $55.93, for a total value of $500,181.99. Following the sale, the chairman now directly owns 316,103 shares in the company, valued at $17,679,640.79. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, EVP Daniel Bley sold 1,239 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, October 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $55.38, for a total value of $68,615.82. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 22,721 shares in the company, valued at $1,258,288.98. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders sold 36,107 shares of company stock worth $1,988,452. Insiders own 2.20% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the business. Seven Eight Capital LP purchased a new position in shares of Webster Financial during the second quarter worth about $141,000. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank grew its holdings in shares of Webster Financial by 9.5% during the second quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank now owns 3,147 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $164,000 after purchasing an additional 274 shares during the last quarter. GSA Capital Partners LLP purchased a new position in shares of Webster Financial during the third quarter worth about $202,000. Advisor Group Inc. grew its holdings in shares of Webster Financial by 13.3% during the second quarter. Advisor Group Inc. now owns 4,038 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $211,000 after buying an additional 474 shares during the last quarter. Finally, BB&T Securities LLC purchased a new position in shares of Webster Financial during the second quarter worth about $212,000. 86.77% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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Webster Financial Company Profile

Webster Financial Corporation is a bank and financial holding company. The Company’s segments include Commercial Banking, Community Banking, HSA Bank, Private Banking, and Corporate and Reconciling. The Commercial Banking segment includes middle-market, asset-based lending, commercial real estate, equipment finance, and treasury and payment solutions, which includes government and institutional banking.

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