Short Interest in Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB) Expands By 44.7%

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Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB) was the target of a large growth in short interest in August. As of August 31st, there was short interest totalling 16,001,600 shares, a growth of 44.7% from the July 31st total of 11,058,200 shares. Based on an average daily volume of 5,960,000 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 2.7 days. Approximately 2.2% of the company’s shares are short sold.

Several research firms recently commented on FITB. Nomura set a $29.00 price target on Fifth Third Bancorp and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, July 26th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. reduced their price target on Fifth Third Bancorp from $30.50 to $30.00 and set a “neutral” rating on the stock in a research report on Tuesday, July 9th. Wells Fargo & Co boosted their price target on Fifth Third Bancorp from $28.00 to $31.00 and gave the stock a “market perform” rating in a research report on Tuesday, June 4th. Wedbush boosted their price target on Fifth Third Bancorp from $31.00 to $32.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 24th. Finally, Citigroup lowered Fifth Third Bancorp from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and reduced their price target for the stock from $31.00 to $30.00 in a research report on Friday, July 12th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have issued a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $31.27.

FITB stock traded up $0.35 during midday trading on Friday, hitting $28.38. 2,581,014 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 6,740,580. The company has a current ratio of 0.90, a quick ratio of 0.89 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.82. Fifth Third Bancorp has a 12-month low of $22.12 and a 12-month high of $30.20. The firm has a 50 day moving average price of $26.98 and a 200-day moving average price of $27.27. The stock has a market capitalization of $20.69 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.17, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.38 and a beta of 1.38.

Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, July 23rd. The financial services provider reported $0.71 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.66 by $0.05. Fifth Third Bancorp had a return on equity of 11.51% and a net margin of 24.39%. The company had revenue of $1.91 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.90 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $0.63 EPS. On average, sell-side analysts forecast that Fifth Third Bancorp will post 2.83 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Fifth Third Bancorp announced that its board has initiated a stock repurchase program on Tuesday, June 18th that allows the company to buyback 100,000,000 outstanding shares. This buyback authorization allows the financial services provider to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are generally a sign that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.

In related news, COO Lars C. Anderson sold 25,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, July 24th. The stock was sold at an average price of $29.75, for a total transaction of $743,750.00. Following the transaction, the chief operating officer now directly owns 241,579 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $7,186,975.25. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, Director Evan Bayh purchased 4,000 shares of Fifth Third Bancorp stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, September 4th. The shares were bought at an average cost of $25.93 per share, for a total transaction of $103,720.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 48,517 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,258,045.81. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders own 0.40% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the business. Geode Capital Management LLC increased its holdings in shares of Fifth Third Bancorp by 6.5% in the 4th quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 9,475,947 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $222,615,000 after acquiring an additional 574,887 shares during the last quarter. Janney Montgomery Scott LLC increased its holdings in shares of Fifth Third Bancorp by 7.8% in the 1st quarter. Janney Montgomery Scott LLC now owns 44,857 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $1,131,000 after acquiring an additional 3,229 shares during the last quarter. Moors & Cabot Inc. bought a new stake in shares of Fifth Third Bancorp in the 1st quarter valued at approximately $238,000. Victory Capital Management Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Fifth Third Bancorp by 21.4% in the 1st quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 148,488 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $3,745,000 after acquiring an additional 26,182 shares during the last quarter. Finally, California Public Employees Retirement System increased its holdings in shares of Fifth Third Bancorp by 8.4% in the 1st quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 1,902,909 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $47,991,000 after acquiring an additional 146,941 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 78.12% of the company’s stock.

Fifth Third Bancorp Company Profile

Fifth Third Bancorp operates as a diversified financial services company in the United States. The company's Commercial Banking segment offers credit intermediation, cash management, and financial services; lending and depository products; and cash management, foreign exchange and international trade finance, derivatives and capital markets services, asset-based lending, real estate finance, public finance, commercial leasing, and syndicated finance for business, government, and professional customers.

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