First Financial Bancorp. (NASDAQ:FFBC) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a note issued to investors on Tuesday. The firm presently has a $32.00 price target on the bank’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price suggests a potential upside of 15.73% from the company’s current price.

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. “

Several other equities analysts have also commented on FFBC. Royal Bank Of Canada reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $28.00 target price on shares of First Financial Bancorp. in a report on Friday. Barclays PLC raised their target price on shares of First Financial Bancorp. from $25.00 to $27.00 and gave the company an “underweight” rating in a report on Monday. Piper Jaffray Companies set a $28.00 target price on shares of First Financial Bancorp. and gave the company a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, October 6th. BidaskClub lowered shares of First Financial Bancorp. from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a report on Tuesday, August 22nd. Finally, Sandler O’Neill raised shares of First Financial Bancorp. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and raised their target price for the company from $28.00 to $29.00 in a report on Friday, July 28th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have given a hold rating, three have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. First Financial Bancorp. currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $29.00.

First Financial Bancorp. (NASDAQ:FFBC) traded up 0.55% during mid-day trading on Tuesday, reaching $27.65. 282,551 shares of the company were exchanged. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $25.48 and its 200-day moving average price is $26.23. The stock has a market capitalization of $1.72 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.31 and a beta of 1.20. First Financial Bancorp. has a 12-month low of $20.55 and a 12-month high of $29.80.

First Financial Bancorp. (NASDAQ:FFBC) last released its earnings results on Thursday, October 19th. The bank reported $0.40 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.38 by $0.02. First Financial Bancorp. had a net margin of 26.49% and a return on equity of 11.22%. The firm had revenue of $83.95 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $88.30 million. During the same period last year, the firm earned $0.37 EPS. On average, equities research analysts forecast that First Financial Bancorp. will post $1.53 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

TRADEMARK VIOLATION WARNING: This piece of content was reported by American Banking News and is the property of of American Banking News. If you are reading this piece of content on another publication, it was stolen and republished in violation of U.S. and international trademark and copyright laws. The correct version of this piece of content can be viewed at https://www.americanbankingnews.com/2017/10/24/first-financial-bancorp-ffbc-rating-increased-to-strong-buy-at-zacks-investment-research.html.

In other First Financial Bancorp. news, insider C Douglas Lefferson sold 40,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, August 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $25.69, for a total transaction of $1,027,600.00. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 74,170 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,905,427.30. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Insiders have acquired a total of 801 shares of company stock worth $20,054 over the last three months. Insiders own 1.88% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of FFBC. Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. grew its holdings in First Financial Bancorp. by 6.9% during the 2nd quarter. Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. now owns 5,410 shares of the bank’s stock worth $150,000 after acquiring an additional 349 shares during the last quarter. SG Americas Securities LLC grew its holdings in First Financial Bancorp. by 16.6% during the 1st quarter. SG Americas Securities LLC now owns 6,492 shares of the bank’s stock worth $178,000 after acquiring an additional 922 shares during the last quarter. IFP Advisors Inc grew its holdings in First Financial Bancorp. by 0.6% during the 2nd quarter. IFP Advisors Inc now owns 6,542 shares of the bank’s stock worth $181,000 after acquiring an additional 36 shares during the last quarter. Amalgamated Bank grew its holdings in First Financial Bancorp. by 1.2% during the 2nd quarter. Amalgamated Bank now owns 8,406 shares of the bank’s stock worth $233,000 after acquiring an additional 102 shares during the last quarter. Finally, GW&K Investment Management LLC bought a new stake in First Financial Bancorp. during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $261,000. 74.23% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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.

Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on First Financial Bancorp. (FFBC)

For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com

Analyst Recommendations for First Financial Bancorp. (NASDAQ:FFBC)

Receive News & Ratings for First Financial Bancorp. Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for First Financial Bancorp. and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.