Regions Financial Weakens After Downgrade

NEW YORK (TheStreet) --Regions Financial (RF) shares moved lower Wednesday following a downgrade late Tuesday from Miller Tabak analyst Thomas Mitchell.

Shares of Regions were down 1.33% to $11.10 in mid-morning trading Wednesday. They finished strong Tuesday despite the downgrade, which came about 90 minutes before the close of trading.

Mitchell lowered his recommendation to hold from buy while raising his price target to $11.33 from $11.15 According to his note, the move was primarily driven by outperformance of the Birmingham, Al.,-based bank's shares.

Shares of Regions are up some 40% over the past 12 months, versus a roughly 30% gain for the KBW Bank Index. The index opened lower Wednesday but was roughly flat by mid-morning.

Mitchell argues Regions "remains challenged to accumulate enough new capital to grow the business faster."

Mitchell's other ratings change was to upgrade First Midwest Bancorp (FMBI) to hold from sell.

First Midwest's shares have underperformed recently, but the bank "has (finally) emerged from the very difficult credit quality conditions it had long faced as a result of lending on undeveloped land parcels back in the mid-2000's," Miller wrote.

Despite the upgrade, First Midwest shares were down 0.34% to $17.59, though they had a strong finish on Tuesday when the ratings change was first published.

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