Associated Banc-Corp (NYSE: ASB): The Best-Of-Breed For Investing?

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The Vanguard Group, Inc. recently announced the acquisition of new stake in Associated Banc-Corp (NYSE:ASB). The institutional investor has increased its shareholding in the Financial company by 1.72% to 15.62 million shares with purchase of 0.26 million shares. This fresh investment now brings its stake to 10.16% valued currently at $213.66 million. In addition, Cramer Rosenthal McGlynn LLC raised its holdings by 28640.0 to 3.2 million shares. And LSV Asset Management has lifted its position by 15.09% or 0.41 million shares – to 3.16 million shares.

With over 0.93 million Associated Banc-Corp (ASB) shares trading Tuesday and a closing price of $13.31 on the day, the dollar volume was approximately $12.44 million. The shares have shown a positive weekly performance of 7.77% and its price on 07/21/20 gained nearly 6.82%. Currently, there are 154.70M common shares owned by the public and among those 150.38M shares have been available to trade.

An analysis of what Wall Street brokers have to say about the expected price targets for this stock gives us this picture: 10 analysts who have offered their price forecasts for ASB have a consensus price objective of $15.22. The analysts have set the share’s price value over the next 12 months at a high of $18.00 and a low of $13.00 should the stock experience a downside. Incidentally, analysts’ outlook for the Associated Banc-Corp stock is 3.10 for the next 12 months. The average price target is 12.55% above its last price level and an upside to the estimated low will see the stock lose -2.38% over that period. But an upside of 26.06% will see the stock hit the forecast high price target while mean target price for the stock is $15.00.

Insiders at the company have transacted a total of 356 times over the past 12 months, according to data filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). 271 of these insider trades were purchases, accounting for 459,657 shares. Insider sales of the common stock occurred on 85 occasions, with total insider shares sold totaling 218,556 shares.

The top 3 mutual fund holders in Associated Banc-Corp are DFA US Small Cap Value Portfolio, Vanguard Total Stock Market Index, and iShares Core S&P Mid Cap ETF. DFA US Small Cap Value Portfolio owns 4.92 million shares of the company’s stock, all valued at over $67.33 million. The company bought an additional 0.43 million shares recently to bring their total holdings to about 3.20% of the shares outstanding. Vanguard Total Stock Market Index sold -0.2 million shares to see its total holdings shrink to 4.35 million shares valued at over $59.55 million and representing 2.83% of the shares outstanding. iShares Core S&P Mid Cap ETF now owns shares totaling to 2.69% of the shares outstanding.

Shares of Associated Banc-Corp (NYSE: ASB) opened at $12.67, up $0.21 from a prior closing price of $12.46. However, the script later closed the day at $13.31, up 6.82%. The company’s stock has a 5-day price change of 7.77% and 11.75% over the past three months. ASB shares are trading -39.61% year to date (YTD), with the 12-month market performance down to -34.82% lower. It has a 12-month low price of $10.23 and touched a high of $22.60 over the same period. Currently, 0.93 million shares have been traded, compared to an average intraday trading volume of 1.38 million shares. The stock is trading above its simple moving averages at the SMA20, SMA50, and SMA200, as the current price level is off by 2.00%, -3.02%, and -22.76% respectively.

Institutional ownership of Associated Banc-Corp (NYSE: ASB) shares accounts for 76.50% of the company’s 154.70M shares outstanding. Mutual fund holders own 4.19%, while other institutional holders and individual stakeholders account for 48.05% and 26.77% respectively.

It has a market capitalization of $2.12B and a beta (3y monthly) value of 1.27. The stock’s trailing 12-month PE ratio is 7.93, while the earnings-per-share (ttm) stands at $1.68. The company has a PEG of 1.32 and the debt-to-equity ratio at 0.16. Price movements for the stock have been influenced by the stock’s volatility, which stands at 4.28% over the week and 4.78% over the month.

Analysts forecast that Associated Banc-Corp (ASB) will achieve an EPS of $0.31 for the current quarter, $0.26 for the next quarter and $1.12 for 2021. The lowest estimate earnings-per-share for the quarter is $0.03 while analysts give the company a high EPS estimate of $0.97. Comparatively, EPS for the current quarter was $0.52 a year ago. Earnings per share for the fiscal year are expected to increase by 6.00%, and 19.57% over the next financial year. EPS should shrink at an annualized rate of 6.00% over the next five years, compared to 10.50% over the past 5-year period.

If you are looking to buy this stock, then you may note that the average analyst recommendation by 10 brokerage firm advisors rate Associated Banc-Corp (ASB) as a “Hold” at a consensus score of 3.10. Specifically, 1 Wall Street analysts polled rate the stock as a buy, while 8 of the 10 advise that investors “hold,” and 0 rated it as a “Sell.”

Looking at the support for the ASB, a number of firms have released research notes about the stock. Jefferies stated their Hold rating for the stock in a research note on July 09, 2020, with the firm’s price target at. Wells Fargo coverage for the Associated Banc-Corp (ASB) stock in a research note released on March 30, 2020 offered a Equal Weight rating with a price target of $15. Raymond James was of a view on February 20, 2020 that the stock is Mkt Perform, while Wells Fargo gave the stock Underweight rating on January 06, 2020, issuing a price target of $20. Robert W. Baird on their part issued Neutral rating on December 03, 2019.

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