First Financial Bancorp (FFBC) Stock Rating Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research
First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday. The brokerage currently has a $24.00 price target on the stock. Zacks Investment Research’s price target indicates a potential upside of 11.37% from the company’s previous close.
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. “
Other equities research analysts also recently issued research reports about the stock. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods upped their target price on shares of First Financial Bancorp from $19.00 to $21.00 and gave the company a “market perform” rating in a research note on Monday, July 25th. Hilliard Lyons downgraded shares of First Financial Bancorp from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research note on Monday, July 25th. Barclays PLC upped their target price on shares of First Financial Bancorp from $19.00 to $20.00 and gave the company an “underweight” rating in a research note on Monday, July 25th. Raymond James Financial Inc. downgraded shares of First Financial Bancorp from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating in a research note on Thursday, October 6th. Finally, Jefferies Group reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $21.00 target price on shares of First Financial Bancorp in a research note on Thursday, July 7th. One 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 stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $20.81.
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Shares of First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) traded up 0.47% on Wednesday, reaching $21.55. 231,826 shares of the company traded hands. The stock has a market cap of $1.34 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 16.58 and a beta of 1.19. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $21.77 and a 200 day moving average of $20.22. First Financial Bancorp has a 52-week low of $13.76 and a 52-week high of $22.53.
First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, July 21st. The company reported $0.36 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.34 by $0.02. First Financial Bancorp had a net margin of 22.23% and a return on equity of 9.82%. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $0.31 earnings per share. On average, analysts expect that First Financial Bancorp will post $1.41 earnings per share for the current year.
The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, October 3rd. Investors of record on Friday, September 2nd were issued a dividend of $0.16 per share. This represents a $0.64 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.97%. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, August 31st. First Financial Bancorp’s payout ratio is 49.23%.
In related news, COO Anthony M. Stollings sold 13,081 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, August 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $21.11, for a total transaction of $276,139.91. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, Director Knapke Murph sold 15,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Wednesday, August 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $21.20, for a total transaction of $318,000.00. Following the transaction, the director now owns 50,929 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,079,694.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 2.19% of the company’s stock.
Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Aperio Group LLC boosted its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 19.0% in the first quarter. Aperio Group LLC now owns 18,717 shares of the company’s stock valued at $340,000 after buying an additional 2,987 shares during the last quarter. IFP Advisors Inc boosted its stake in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 0.9% in the first quarter. IFP Advisors Inc now owns 5,529 shares of the company’s stock worth $101,000 after buying an additional 49 shares in the last quarter. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC boosted its stake in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 18.5% in the first quarter. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC now owns 239,947 shares of the company’s stock worth $4,362,000 after buying an additional 37,419 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Group LTD boosted its stake in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 4.8% in the first quarter. BlackRock Group LTD now owns 92,294 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,678,000 after buying an additional 4,218 shares in the last quarter. Finally, BlackRock Fund Advisors boosted its stake in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 1.2% in the first quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors now owns 3,856,226 shares of the company’s stock worth $70,106,000 after buying an additional 44,487 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 72.70% of the company’s stock.
About First Financial Bancorp
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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