Washington Federal (NASDAQ:WAFD) Lowered to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Washington Federal (NASDAQ:WAFD) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note released on Tuesday morning, Zacks.com reports. They currently have $35.00 price objective on the bank’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Washington Federal have underperformed the industry over the past six months. The company has an impressive earnings surprise history. The company’s earnings surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the trailing four quarters. The company's efforts to diversify revenues and consistent growth in loan balance are expected to keep supporting financials. Further, given its earnings strength and solid liquidity position, Washington Federal is expected to continue with efficient capital deployment activities. Through this, it will be able to keep enhancing shareholder value. However, the near-zero interest rate environment and no chance of rate hike anytime soon will keep hurting margins, going forward. Also, rising operating expenses (owing to the company’s investments in technology upgrades) remains a major concern.”

Shares of NASDAQ:WAFD opened at $32.43 on Tuesday. Washington Federal has a 12 month low of $20.01 and a 12 month high of $34.00. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.01, a current ratio of 1.02 and a quick ratio of 1.02. The business’s 50 day simple moving average is $32.40 and its 200-day simple moving average is $32.38. The firm has a market capitalization of $2.20 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 15.26 and a beta of 0.92.

Washington Federal (NASDAQ:WAFD) last posted its earnings results on Monday, July 12th. The bank reported $0.61 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.51 by $0.10. Washington Federal had a return on equity of 8.24% and a net margin of 25.80%. The firm had revenue of $141.82 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $136.97 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $0.46 EPS. Washington Federal’s revenue was up 8.5% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts anticipate that Washington Federal will post 2.31 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, August 20th. Investors of record on Friday, August 6th were paid a $0.23 dividend. This represents a $0.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.84%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, August 5th. Washington Federal’s payout ratio is currently 46.00%.

Several institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the business. Kennedy Capital Management Inc. grew its stake in shares of Washington Federal by 17.0% during the first quarter. Kennedy Capital Management Inc. now owns 209,282 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $6,446,000 after acquiring an additional 30,416 shares in the last quarter. AlphaCrest Capital Management LLC acquired a new position in Washington Federal in the first quarter worth approximately $1,061,000. M&T Bank Corp grew its position in Washington Federal by 8.0% in the first quarter. M&T Bank Corp now owns 13,765 shares of the bank’s stock worth $424,000 after buying an additional 1,017 shares during the last quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC boosted its stake in Washington Federal by 56.5% in the 1st quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 228,976 shares of the bank’s stock worth $7,052,000 after purchasing an additional 82,700 shares during the period. Finally, BlackRock Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Washington Federal by 6.4% during the 1st quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 9,863,126 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $303,785,000 after buying an additional 597,517 shares during the period. 82.57% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

About Washington Federal

Washington Federal, Inc is a bank holding company, which engages in the provision of lending, depository, insurance, banking, financial products and services. It offers checking and savings accounts, mortgages, credit cards, retirement, money markets, mobile and online banking, real estate and equipment financing, treasury management, and credit solutions.

Further Reading: What does a hold rating mean?

Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on Washington Federal (WAFD)

For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com

Receive News & Ratings for Washington Federal Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for Washington Federal and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.