Investar (NASDAQ:ISTR) Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research to “Buy”

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Investar (NASDAQ:ISTR) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Friday, January 12th. They currently have $27.00 target price on the financial services provider’s stock.

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. “

A number of other equities analysts also recently commented on ISTR. Piper Jaffray Companies reiterated an overweight rating and issued a $26.00 target price on shares of Investar in a report on Thursday, October 5th. Hovde Group restated an outperform rating and set a $28.00 price objective on shares of Investar in a report on Friday, December 29th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has an average rating of Buy and an average target price of $27.00.

Shares of Investar (NASDAQ:ISTR) opened at $24.65 on Friday. Investar has a one year low of $18.31 and a one year high of $25.55. The stock has a market cap of $214.92, a price-to-earnings ratio of 23.48 and a beta of 0.33. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.18, a quick ratio of 1.01 and a current ratio of 1.01.

Investar (NASDAQ:ISTR) last released its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, October 25th. The financial services provider reported $0.29 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.30 by ($0.01). Investar had a return on equity of 5.88% and a net margin of 14.88%. sell-side analysts predict that Investar will post 1.1 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, January 31st. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, January 3rd will be given a $0.0315 dividend. This represents a $0.13 annualized dividend and a yield of 0.51%. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, January 2nd. This is a positive change from Investar’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.03. Investar’s dividend payout ratio is currently 13.27%.

In other news, CFO Christopher L. Hufft sold 2,500 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, November 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $23.15, for a total transaction of $57,875.00. Following the transaction, the chief financial officer now owns 23,356 shares in the company, valued at approximately $540,691.40. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, EVP Ryan P. Finnan sold 3,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, December 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $23.70, for a total value of $71,100.00. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 15,314 shares in the company, valued at approximately $362,941.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders acquired 1,032 shares of company stock worth $24,279. Insiders own 8.83% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Nationwide Fund Advisors acquired a new position in Investar in the 2nd quarter valued at $104,000. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company acquired a new position in Investar in the 2nd quarter valued at $190,000. New York State Common Retirement Fund acquired a new position in Investar in the 2nd quarter valued at $202,000. Raymond James Financial Services Advisors Inc. acquired a new position in Investar in the 2nd quarter valued at $226,000. Finally, SG Americas Securities LLC acquired a new position in Investar in the 3rd quarter valued at $300,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 61.58% of the company’s stock.

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About Investar

Investar Holding Corporation is financial holding company that conducts its operations through, Investar Bank (the Bank), which is a commercial bank. The Company offers a range of commercial and retail lending products throughout its market areas, including business loans to small to medium-sized businesses, as well as loans to individuals.

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