Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report released on Wednesday morning. Zacks Investment Research currently has $24.00 price objective on the stock.
According to Zacks, “First Financial Bancorp., is a financial holding company that engages in the business of commercial banking, and other permissible activities that are financial in nature, through seventeen wholly owned subsidiary institutions. Bancorp provides management and similar services for its subsidiary financial institutions. Bancorp must depend largely upon its seventeen subsidiaries for funds with which to pay the expenses of its operation and, to the extent applicable, any dividends on its outstanding shares of stock. “
A number of other equities analysts also recently weighed in on FFBC. Barclays PLC upped their price target on First Financial Bancorp from $20.00 to $22.00 and gave the stock an underweight rating in a research report on Tuesday. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods upped their price target on First Financial Bancorp from $19.00 to $21.00 and gave the stock a market perform rating in a research report on Monday, July 25th. Hilliard Lyons downgraded First Financial Bancorp from a buy rating to a neutral rating in a research report on Monday, July 25th. Jefferies Group reaffirmed a hold rating and set a $21.00 price target on shares of First Financial Bancorp in a research report on Thursday, July 7th. Finally, Raymond James Financial Inc. downgraded First Financial Bancorp from an outperform rating to a market perform rating in a research report on Thursday, October 6th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $20.81.
First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) traded down 2.09% during mid-day trading on Wednesday, hitting $21.10. 26,330 shares of the company were exchanged. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $21.77 and its 200-day moving average is $20.23. The company has a market cap of $1.31 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 16.23 and a beta of 1.19. First Financial Bancorp has a 12-month low of $13.76 and a 12-month high of $22.53.
First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 21st. The company reported $0.36 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.34 by $0.02. First Financial Bancorp had a return on equity of 9.82% and a net margin of 22.23%. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $0.31 earnings per share. Equities research analysts predict that First Financial Bancorp will post $1.41 EPS for the current year.
The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, October 3rd. Investors of record on Friday, September 2nd were paid a $0.16 dividend. This represents a $0.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.97%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, August 31st. First Financial Bancorp’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 49.23%.
In related news, EVP Holly M. Foster sold 2,021 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, August 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $21.84, for a total value of $44,138.64. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 4,979 shares in the company, valued at approximately $108,741.36. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, Director Knapke Murph sold 15,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Wednesday, August 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $21.20, for a total value of $318,000.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 50,929 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,079,694.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 2.19% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.
Large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Zurich Insurance Group Ltd FI acquired a new stake in First Financial Bancorp during the first quarter worth $1,304,000. Hancock Holding Co. raised its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 5.1% in the first quarter. Hancock Holding Co. now owns 40,967 shares of the company’s stock worth $745,000 after buying an additional 1,975 shares in the last quarter. Loomis Sayles & Co. L P raised its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 1.6% in the first quarter. Loomis Sayles & Co. L P now owns 1,013,763 shares of the company’s stock worth $18,430,000 after buying an additional 15,863 shares in the last quarter. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. raised its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 4.9% in the first quarter. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. now owns 191,101 shares of the company’s stock worth $3,474,000 after buying an additional 8,913 shares in the last quarter. Finally, State Street Corp raised its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 2.9% in the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 1,445,146 shares of the company’s stock worth $26,274,000 after buying an additional 40,592 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 72.70% of the company’s stock.
First Financial Bancorp Company Profile
First Financial Bancorp. (First Financial) is a regional bank holding company. First Financial is engaged in the business of commercial banking and other banking and banking-related activities through its subsidiary, First Financial Bank, National Association (the Bank). The range of banking services provided by First Financial to individuals and businesses include commercial lending, real estate lending and consumer financing.
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