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Baird Downgrades Fifth Third Bancorp

Baird downgrades Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB) to neutral from outperform.

Analyst David Long says that one of his key catalysts for multiple expansion on the company's stock was for the company to report noise-free, consistently clean financial results. He says the company's announcement last night is in complete contrast to this theme, and now believes it will be difficult for shares to reach a significant premium valuation to its regional banking peers.

Due to reduced net interest income estimates, increase in loan loss provision, and lower noninterest income, he cuts his 2005 earnings per share estimate by 27 cents to $3.28.

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