Fulton Financial (FULT) Stock Coverage Initiated at Piper Jaffray

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Fulton Financial (FULT) stock coverage was initiated by analysts at Piper Jaffray with a "neutral" rating and a price target of $12.50.

Analysts believe that the company's shares appear fairly valued given profitability, and dividend yield and credit metrics are relatively in-line with peers.

However, risks include sustained low interest rates, which limits earning asset growth and inability to control increasing regulatory and compliance costs. Additionally, regional economic growth is expected to remain in the low-single digits, according to the analyst note.

The Pennsylvania-based company offers a traditional array of bank products, but focuses primarily on commercial-related assets.

In Friday's early morning trading session, shares are gaining 0.7% to $12.92.

Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates FULTON FINANCIAL CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of B+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate FULTON FINANCIAL CORP (FULT) a BUY. This is driven by a number of strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, expanding profit margins, attractive valuation levels and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • FULT's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 0.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 1.7%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displaying stagnant earnings per share.
  • FULTON FINANCIAL CORP reported flat earnings per share in the most recent quarter. Stable earnings per share over the past year indicate the company has sound management over its earnings and share float. We anticipate these figures will begin to experience more growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, FULTON FINANCIAL CORP increased its bottom line by earning $0.85 versus $0.84 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.86 versus $0.85).
  • The gross profit margin for FULTON FINANCIAL CORP is currently very high, coming in at 90.29%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 21.01% trails the industry average.
  • Compared to where it was a year ago today, the stock is now trading at a higher level, regardless of the company's weak earnings results. The stock's price rise over the last year has driven it to a level which is somewhat expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: FULT Ratings Report

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