Analysts said in their 3Q earnings preview that midcap banks are not out of the woods yet, and higher for longer rates mean Street estimates for NII need to come down further.
"We expect earnings will be a 'sell the news' event," the analysts wrote. "A lot of the good news on recent deposit growth, slowing deposit pricing pressure and benign credit are already known. We expect the market will begin to look forward to 2024, where a higher for longer rate environment and slowing loan growth pressure NII, loan losses rise further, and expense pressures remain elevated."
In addition, the analysts stated the firm sees an elevated risk of downward EPS revisions at banks that have high loan-to-deposit ratios, higher skew to CDs, or banks where deposit pressures are re-accelerating in the coming quarters. Those factors have driven the downgrades of VLY and ZION.
On VLY, which was given an $8.50 price target, the analysts wrote: "We think consensus is underestimating the pressure on Valley's NII in a higher for longer rate environment. VLY has a 101% loan-to-deposit ratio (vs. ~84% for peers), which gives them less flexibility on deposit pricing in a higher for longer rate environment."
For ZION, which was assigned a $32 price target, they said: "After a 70%+ rally from May lows (including +27% in 3Q23), ZION is now trading in-line with peers after having consistently been at a discount for the majority of 2023. We believe this skews risk-reward to the downside in a higher for longer rate environment given the elevated risk of NIB outflow, which would need to be replaced with higher cost client deposits currently off-balance sheet."
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