First Financial Bancorp. (NASDAQ:FFBC) has received a consensus recommendation of “Hold” from the ten research firms that are covering the stock, MarketBeat.com reports. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell recommendation, six have issued a hold recommendation and three have assigned a buy recommendation to the company. The average twelve-month price objective among brokers that have updated their coverage on the stock in the last year is $26.33.

A number of analysts have commented on FFBC shares. DA Davidson started coverage on First Financial Bancorp. in a research report on Thursday, March 23rd. They set a “buy” rating and a $30.00 target price on the stock. Zacks Investment Research downgraded First Financial Bancorp. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, May 15th. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reiterated a “hold” rating and set a $27.00 target price on shares of First Financial Bancorp. in a research report on Monday, April 10th. ValuEngine upgraded First Financial Bancorp. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, May 31st. Finally, BidaskClub upgraded First Financial Bancorp. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, June 14th.

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First Financial Bancorp. (NASDAQ:FFBC) opened at 26.35 on Friday. The stock has a market cap of $1.64 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.57 and a beta of 1.21. First Financial Bancorp. has a 12 month low of $18.00 and a 12 month high of $29.80. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $26.62 and its 200-day moving average price is $27.50.

First Financial Bancorp. (NASDAQ:FFBC) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, April 20th. The bank reported $0.39 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.35 by $0.04. First Financial Bancorp. had a return on equity of 10.79% and a net margin of 24.42%. The firm had revenue of $86.30 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $86.84 million. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $0.32 earnings per share. Equities research analysts predict that First Financial Bancorp. will post $1.56 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, July 3rd. Stockholders of record on Friday, June 2nd will be given a $0.17 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, May 31st. This represents a $0.68 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.58%. First Financial Bancorp.’s dividend payout ratio is currently 45.33%.

In related news, insider Paul C. Silva sold 1,713 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, May 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $27.66, for a total value of $47,381.58. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 2,051 shares in the company, valued at $56,730.66. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. 1.88% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. raised its position in First Financial Bancorp. by 2.8% in the first quarter. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. now owns 4,439 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $122,000 after buying an additional 122 shares during the last quarter. Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. acquired a new position in First Financial Bancorp. during the first quarter valued at approximately $139,000. Bank of Montreal Can raised its position in First Financial Bancorp. by 50.3% in the first quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 5,580 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $153,000 after buying an additional 1,867 shares during the last quarter. SG Americas Securities LLC raised its position in First Financial Bancorp. by 16.6% in the first quarter. SG Americas Securities LLC now owns 6,492 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $178,000 after buying an additional 922 shares during the last quarter. Finally, IFP Advisors Inc raised its position in First Financial Bancorp. by 0.5% in the first quarter. IFP Advisors Inc now owns 6,506 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $179,000 after buying an additional 31 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 74.48% 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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