Zacks Investment Research Downgrades Webster Financial (NYSE:WBS) to Sell

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Webster Financial (NYSE:WBS) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report published on Saturday morning, Zacks.com reports. Zacks Investment Research currently has $47.00 price target on the financial services provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Webster Financial have underperformed the industry in the past six months. Also, earnings estimates have been revised downward ahead of the third quarter results. However, persistently rising costs are a major concern, which might be further elevated by the company's efforts to strengthen the HSA Bank segment. Also, high exposure in residential and commercial real estate loans can be risky if the housing sector weakens. Nevertheless, it possesses an impressive earnings surprise history, having surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the trailing four quarters. Webster Financial’s continued growth in loans and deposits will support profitability. Further, top-line strength and ample liquidity keep the optimism alive. Additionally, the company's margins are expected to continue benefiting from decent lending scenario.”

A number of other brokerages have also recently weighed in on WBS. Morgan Stanley reduced their price target on shares of Webster Financial from $52.00 to $50.00 and set an equal weight rating on the stock in a research report on Thursday, October 3rd. Wells Fargo & Co reduced their price target on shares of Webster Financial from $55.00 to $50.00 and set a market perform rating on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, October 2nd. ValuEngine raised shares of Webster Financial from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report on Wednesday, October 2nd. Finally, Boenning Scattergood reissued a neutral rating on shares of Webster Financial in a research report on Friday, July 19th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have assigned a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Webster Financial has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $54.40.

Shares of NYSE WBS opened at $43.57 on Friday. The company’s fifty day moving average is $46.34 and its 200-day moving average is $48.07. The stock has a market cap of $4.32 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.65, a P/E/G ratio of 1.44 and a beta of 1.29. Webster Financial has a twelve month low of $42.29 and a twelve month high of $61.49. The company has a quick ratio of 0.83, a current ratio of 0.83 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.67.

In related news, EVP Daniel Bley sold 2,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, July 31st. The shares were sold at an average price of $51.45, for a total value of $102,900.00. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 18,654 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $959,748.30. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, Director John Joseph Crawford sold 1,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, July 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $51.28, for a total transaction of $51,280.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 15,099 shares in the company, valued at $774,276.72. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 1.53% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of WBS. Bank of New York Mellon Corp increased its stake in Webster Financial by 11.0% in the 2nd quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 2,501,800 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $119,511,000 after buying an additional 248,126 shares during the last quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. increased its stake in Webster Financial by 2.3% in the 2nd quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 2,244,421 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $107,216,000 after buying an additional 50,601 shares during the last quarter. Wasatch Advisors Inc. increased its stake in Webster Financial by 28.2% in the 2nd quarter. Wasatch Advisors Inc. now owns 2,000,712 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $95,574,000 after buying an additional 440,471 shares during the last quarter. Pzena Investment Management LLC increased its stake in Webster Financial by 8.6% in the 2nd quarter. Pzena Investment Management LLC now owns 1,226,496 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $58,590,000 after buying an additional 97,276 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Putnam Investments LLC increased its stake in Webster Financial by 0.7% in the 2nd quarter. Putnam Investments LLC now owns 1,139,014 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $54,410,000 after buying an additional 8,206 shares during the last quarter. 88.63% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Webster Financial

Webster Financial Corporation operates as the holding company for Webster Bank, National Association that provides a range of banking, investment, and financial services to individuals, families, and businesses in the United States. It operates through three segments: Commercial Banking, HSA Bank, and Community Banking.

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