Associated Banc Corp (NYSE:ASB) Sees Large Growth in Short Interest

Associated Banc Corp (NYSE:ASB) was the recipient of a significant increase in short interest in the month of January. As of January 31st, there was short interest totalling 3,920,000 shares, an increase of 15.3% from the January 15th total of 3,400,000 shares. Based on an average trading volume of 1,100,000 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is currently 3.6 days. Currently, 2.5% of the shares of the company are sold short.

Shares of ASB stock opened at $20.27 on Friday. Associated Banc has a 12-month low of $18.52 and a 12-month high of $23.83. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.02, a current ratio of 0.94 and a quick ratio of 0.94. The firm has a market capitalization of $3.25 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 10.61, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.40 and a beta of 1.19. The business has a 50 day simple moving average of $20.92 and a 200 day simple moving average of $20.66.

Associated Banc (NYSE:ASB) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, January 23rd. The bank reported $0.45 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.41 by $0.04. Associated Banc had a return on equity of 9.17% and a net margin of 20.79%. The company had revenue of $293.08 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $297.30 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $0.51 EPS. On average, equities analysts anticipate that Associated Banc will post 1.81 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, March 16th. Investors of record on Monday, March 2nd will be paid a dividend of $0.18 per share. This represents a $0.72 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.55%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, February 28th. Associated Banc’s dividend payout ratio is currently 36.55%.

ASB has been the topic of a number of recent research reports. Zacks Investment Research cut Associated Banc from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating and set a $24.00 target price on the stock. in a research note on Thursday, December 26th. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Associated Banc from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, January 3rd. Robert W. Baird cut shares of Associated Banc from an “outperform” rating to a “neutral” rating in a report on Tuesday, December 3rd. Royal Bank of Canada reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $22.00 price objective on shares of Associated Banc in a research report on Monday, January 27th. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co lowered shares of Associated Banc from an “equal weight” rating to an “underweight” rating and set a $20.00 target price for the company. in a research note on Monday, January 6th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating and five have issued a hold rating to the company. Associated Banc has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $21.50.

In related news, EVP John P. Hankerd sold 6,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, January 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $20.57, for a total value of $123,420.00. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 19,366 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $398,358.62. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, EVP John P. Hankerd sold 3,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, November 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $21.75, for a total value of $65,250.00. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 21,566 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $469,060.50. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders have sold 14,800 shares of company stock worth $313,370. 2.69% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Morgan Stanley raised its position in Associated Banc by 86.8% during the 2nd quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 197,432 shares of the bank’s stock worth $4,173,000 after buying an additional 91,737 shares during the last quarter. Royal Bank of Canada lifted its position in Associated Banc by 4.2% in the second quarter. Royal Bank of Canada now owns 18,187 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $385,000 after purchasing an additional 731 shares during the period. Cerebellum GP LLC boosted its holdings in Associated Banc by 426.5% in the 3rd quarter. Cerebellum GP LLC now owns 9,982 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $202,000 after purchasing an additional 8,086 shares in the last quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank boosted its holdings in Associated Banc by 11.1% in the 3rd quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank now owns 10,751 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $218,000 after purchasing an additional 1,074 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Convergence Investment Partners LLC acquired a new position in Associated Banc during the 3rd quarter worth approximately $163,000. 73.46% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Associated Banc Company Profile

Associated Banc-Corp, a bank holding company, provides various banking and nonbanking products to individuals and businesses in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota. Its Corporate and Commercial Specialty segment offers deposit and cash management solutions, such as commercial checking and interest-bearing deposit products, cash vault and night depository services, liquidity solutions, payables and receivables solutions, and information services; and lending solutions, including commercial loans and lines of credit, commercial real estate financing, construction loans, letters of credit, leasing, asset based lending, and loan syndications.

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