CIT Group Inc. 's CIT ratings outlook has been upgraded to positive from stable by Moody's Investors Service, a rating arm of Moody's Corporation MCO . Further, the rating agency affirmed the company's Ba2 senior unsecured, Ba2 subordinate shelf, Ba3 preferred shelf, B1 non-cumulative preferred shelf and B1(hyb) preferred stock ratings.
Per Moody's, CIT Group's ratings reflect its competitive position in commercial finance operations, revenue diversity, robust liquidity and rational "capital targets."
Moreover, long-term and short-term deposit ratings for its subsidiary - CIT Bank - has been retained at Baa2 and Prime-2, respectively. Further, baseline credit assessment at ba1 has been affirmed.
Why was the Outlook Upgraded?
Expectations of funding stability and a decline in funding costs, steady improvement in profitability, restructuring initiatives and strong credit quality led Moody's to upgrade CIT Group's outlook. Also per the rating agency, the company's efforts to divest non-core operations and "repayment of associated market debt" take it a step closer to its objective of becoming a leading national middle-market bank.
Moody's expects CIT Group to complete the previously announced divestiture of its European railcar leasing business, NACCO, and its Financial Freedom reverse mortgage servicing business and loan portfolio this year. These are projected to lower the company's operational risk.
While Moody's expects CIT Group's common equity Tier 1 capital ratio to decline this year owing to its efforts to reward shareholders, the company's capital position will remain strong.
CIT Group's efforts to simplify operations and improve efficiency, a rising rate scenario and strong balance sheet position are expected to support growth.
Shares of CIT Group have jumped 26.6% in the past six months, outperforming the industry 's rise of 6.4%.
CIT Group carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Stocks Worth Considering
A couple of stocks in the finance space worth a look are Houlihan Lokey, Inc. HLI and PJT Partners Inc. PJT . Both these stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here .
The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Houlihan Lokey moved 10.5% upward for the current year, in the last 60 days. The company's share price has jumped 28.4% in the past six months.
PJT Partners witnessed 14.3% upward earnings estimate revision for the current year, in the last 60 days. Its share price has increased 33.9% in the past year.
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