Washington Federal (WAFD) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research to “Sell”

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Washington Federal (NASDAQ:WAFD) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note issued to investors on Monday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Washington Federal have underperformed the industry over the past six months. The company’s second-quarter fiscal 2018 (ended Mar 31) results were adversely impacted by higher expenses. In fact, this remains a major concern for the bank as operating expenses are expected to continue rising, given the integration charges and its efforts to upgrade and digitize operations. While the company has an impressive earnings surprise history, having surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the trailing four quarters and is well positioned to benefit from continued growth in loans as well a rising rate scenario, significant exposure to risky loan portfolios makes us apprehensive.”

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Several other brokerages have also recently commented on WAFD. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Washington Federal from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Sunday, December 31st. BidaskClub cut shares of Washington Federal from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note on Friday, January 5th. DA Davidson restated a hold rating and set a $39.00 price objective on shares of Washington Federal in a research note on Thursday, January 18th. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods restated a hold rating and set a $38.00 price objective on shares of Washington Federal in a research note on Thursday, January 18th. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada restated a hold rating and set a $36.00 price objective on shares of Washington Federal in a research note on Thursday, April 12th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating and six have issued a hold rating to the company. The stock currently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $37.00.

WAFD stock opened at $32.75 on Monday. The company has a market capitalization of $2,741.64, a P/E ratio of 16.88, a P/E/G ratio of 1.37 and a beta of 1.14. The company has a quick ratio of 1.03, a current ratio of 1.02 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.17. Washington Federal has a 52 week low of $29.80 and a 52 week high of $37.70.

Washington Federal (NASDAQ:WAFD) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, April 11th. The bank reported $0.57 EPS for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.59 by ($0.02). The company had revenue of $129.89 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $131.87 million. Washington Federal had a return on equity of 9.53% and a net margin of 30.61%. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $0.47 earnings per share. equities research analysts forecast that Washington Federal will post 2.37 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Washington Federal announced that its Board of Directors has approved a stock repurchase plan on Wednesday, January 24th that allows the company to buyback 5,000,000 shares. This buyback authorization allows the bank to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are generally an indication that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in WAFD. BlackRock Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Washington Federal by 1.9% during the 4th quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 9,869,149 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $338,017,000 after purchasing an additional 186,518 shares in the last quarter. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Washington Federal by 0.4% during the 4th quarter. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. now owns 2,069,760 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $70,889,000 after purchasing an additional 9,161 shares in the last quarter. Clearbridge LLC increased its holdings in shares of Washington Federal by 10.0% during the 4th quarter. Clearbridge LLC now owns 774,117 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $26,514,000 after purchasing an additional 70,290 shares in the last quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC increased its holdings in shares of Washington Federal by 0.4% during the 4th quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC now owns 708,833 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $24,278,000 after purchasing an additional 2,851 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG increased its holdings in shares of Washington Federal by 387.0% during the 4th quarter. Deutsche Bank AG now owns 672,609 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $23,034,000 after purchasing an additional 534,504 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 84.38% of the company’s stock.

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Washington Federal Company Profile

Washington Federal, Inc operates as the bank holding company for Washington Federal, National Association that provides lending, depository, insurance, and other banking services to consumers, mid-sized and large businesses, and owners and developers of commercial real estate in the United States. The company accepts deposit products, such as business and personal checking accounts, and term certificates of deposit, as well as money market accounts and passbook savings accounts.

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