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Will Cost Pressure Hurt Fifth Third (FITB) Q1 Earnings?

Fifth Third Bancorp FITB is scheduled to report its first-quarter 2016 results on Apr 21, before the opening bell.

Notably, the Ohio-based banking giant’s fourth-quarter 2015 earnings came in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Results reflected higher revenues, offset by increased expenses. Further, the quarter witnessed reduced provisions for loan and lease losses, consistent growth in loan and deposit balances as well as a strong capital position.

Will Fifth Third fail to post an earnings beat this quarter as well? Let’s see how things have shaped up.

What to Expect?

During the first quarter, Fifth Third continued with its restructuring measures announced in Jun 2015. In January this year, the company closed the sale of its retail business in the St. Louis MSA, including retail accounts, private banking deposits and related loan relationships to Springfield-based Great Southern Bank. The sale was announced last September.

The sale included loans, premises and equipment, and deposits with aggregate carrying amounts of around $158 million, $18 million and $228 million, respectively. Fifth Third recorded a gain on the sale of about $8 million that will be recognized in its first quarter 2016 results.

We do not expect Fifth Third to report impressive results in the upcoming release, given management’s weak outlook.

Net interest income is likely to exhibit a decline of around $5 million, due to reduction of the Fed dividend rate, loan yield compression and one less day in the quarter. This would more than offset the benefit of the December rate hike.  Net interest margin is expected to increase 2 to 3 basis points as the impact of the rate hike and day count is expected to be offset by the loan yield compression and the Fed dividend cut.

Further, total fee income is not expected to reflect notable growth; rather it may trend in line with the first quarter 2015. This is because several fee components including card and processing revenue, deposit fees, and corporate banking fees are expected to be seasonably low. Further, the quarter will not have the benefit of the Vantiv Tax Receivable Agreement payment. Given such guidance, revenues are likely to remain under pressure.

Additionally, expenses are expected to trend higher in the quarter, mainly driven by seasonally higher FICA and unemployment expense, continued investment in risk management and compliance and including the impact from the early retirement offer.

Net charge-offs are expected to be in line on year-over-year basis. Notably, the quarter might record continued reserve build and increased credit costs related to its energy portfolio, given the persistent weakness witnessed in the sector.

Activities of Fifth Third during the quarter were inadequate to win analysts’ confidence. As a result, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the quarter remained stable at 34 cents over the last seven days.

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model does not conclusively show that Fifth Third is likely to beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in the upcoming release. This is because a stock needs to have both a positive">Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or at least 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) for this to happen. Unfortunately, this is not the case here, as elaborated below.

Zacks ESP: The Earnings ESP for Fifth Third is 0.00%. This is because both the Most Accurate Estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate stand at 34 cents.

Zacks Rank: Further, Fifth Third’s Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) lowers the predictive power of ESP. As it is, we caution investors against stocks with a Zacks Rank #4 and #5 (Sell-rated stocks) going into the earnings announcement, especially when the company is seeing a negative estimate revisions momentum.

Stocks That Warrant a Look

Here are some stocks worth considering, as according to our model they have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter.

The Earnings ESP for The Blackstone Group L.P. BX is +40.63% and carries a Zacks Rank #3. It is scheduled to release first-quarter results on Apr 21.

PrivateBancorp, Inc. PVTB has an Earnings ESP of +1.75% and carries a Zacks Rank #3. It is expected to report first-quarter results on Apr 21.

People's United Financial Inc. PBCT has an Earnings ESP of +4.76% and carries a Zacks Rank #3. It is slated to report first-quarter results on Apr 21.

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FIFTH THIRD BK (FITB): Free Stock Analysis Report
PRIVATEBANCORP (PVTB): Free Stock Analysis Report
BLACKSTONE GRP (BX): Free Stock Analysis Report
PEOPLES UTD FIN (PBCT): Free Stock Analysis Report
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