Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Washington Federal (NASDAQ:WAFD) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note released on Monday.
According to Zacks, “Shares of Washington Federal have underperformed the industry over the past six months. The company’s second-quarter fiscal 2018 (ended Mar 31) results were adversely impacted by higher expenses. In fact, this remains a major concern for the bank as operating expenses are expected to continue rising, given the integration charges and its efforts to upgrade and digitize operations. While the company has an impressive earnings surprise history, having surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the trailing four quarters and is well positioned to benefit from continued growth in loans as well a rising rate scenario, significant exposure to risky loan portfolios makes us apprehensive.”
A number of other brokerages have also weighed in on WAFD. DA Davidson cut their price objective on Washington Federal from $39.00 to $36.00 and set a neutral rating on the stock in a report on Thursday, April 12th. Piper Jaffray reissued a hold rating and issued a $35.00 price objective on shares of Washington Federal in a report on Thursday, April 12th. Royal Bank of Canada reissued a hold rating and issued a $36.00 price objective on shares of Washington Federal in a report on Thursday, April 12th. ValuEngine lowered Washington Federal from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Monday, April 2nd. Finally, BidaskClub raised Washington Federal from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report on Tuesday, February 6th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating and six have given a hold rating to the company. The stock currently has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $37.00.
Washington Federal (NASDAQ:WAFD) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, April 11th. The bank reported $0.57 EPS for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.59 by ($0.02). Washington Federal had a net margin of 30.61% and a return on equity of 9.53%. The business had revenue of $129.89 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $131.87 million. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $0.47 earnings per share. equities analysts predict that Washington Federal will post 2.36 earnings per share for the current year.
Washington Federal declared that its Board of Directors has authorized a share repurchase plan on Wednesday, January 24th that permits the company to repurchase 5,000,000 outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization permits the bank to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are usually a sign that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.
Several hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Profund Advisors LLC increased its holdings in shares of Washington Federal by 12.2% in the fourth quarter. Profund Advisors LLC now owns 15,543 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $532,000 after purchasing an additional 1,695 shares during the period. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank increased its holdings in shares of Washington Federal by 42.7% in the fourth quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank now owns 5,877 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $201,000 after purchasing an additional 1,760 shares during the period. M&T Bank Corp increased its holdings in shares of Washington Federal by 24.2% in the fourth quarter. M&T Bank Corp now owns 9,291 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $317,000 after purchasing an additional 1,812 shares during the period. Flinton Capital Management LLC grew its holdings in Washington Federal by 15.1% during the fourth quarter. Flinton Capital Management LLC now owns 15,266 shares of the bank’s stock worth $523,000 after acquiring an additional 2,006 shares during the period. Finally, ING Groep NV grew its holdings in Washington Federal by 21.1% during the fourth quarter. ING Groep NV now owns 13,157 shares of the bank’s stock worth $451,000 after acquiring an additional 2,288 shares during the period. 84.38% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
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Washington Federal Company Profile
Washington Federal, Inc operates as the bank holding company for Washington Federal, National Association that provides lending, depository, insurance, and other banking services to consumers, mid-sized and large businesses, and owners and developers of commercial real estate in the United States. The company accepts deposit products, such as business and personal checking accounts, and term certificates of deposit, as well as money market accounts and passbook savings accounts.
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