NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of BB&T (BBT) - Get Report  closed higher by 1.64% to $34.68 in Wednesday's trading session despite a ratings downgrade to "hold" from "buy" at Sandler O'Neill earlier today. 

The firm has a $37 price target on the stock. 

The bank's first-quarter comments paired with the expected timing of cost savings from recent transactions and a low-rate environment prompted the downgrade, Barron's reports.

"We think that the benefits of BB&T's diversified franchise will eventually be realized, but that the bank will first have to spend time to fully-integrate its recent acquisitions before it can move forward with more rapid growth plans," the firm said in a note cited by Barron's.

Sandler O'Neill also cut its 2016 and 2017 estimates for BB&T due to a higher expense run-rate and lower net interest margin.

Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates the stock as a "buy" with a ratings score of B+.

BB&T's strengths such as its revenue growth, increase in net income, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: BBT

TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this article's author. 

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