Shares of Southern First Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ:SFST) have earned an average rating of “Buy” from the six brokerages that are currently covering the stock, MarketBeat Ratings reports. Three analysts have rated the stock with a hold recommendation and three have given a buy recommendation to the company. The average 12 month price objective among brokers that have covered the stock in the last year is $40.50.

A number of analysts have weighed in on SFST shares. FIG Partners reissued an “outperform” rating and set a $42.00 target price (up from $40.00) on shares of Southern First Bancshares in a report on Wednesday, October 4th. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Southern First Bancshares from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Friday, October 6th. ValuEngine cut shares of Southern First Bancshares from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, November 14th. Finally, BidaskClub lowered shares of Southern First Bancshares from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, December 12th.

Shares of Southern First Bancshares (SFST) traded up $0.60 during trading hours on Friday, hitting $42.90. 4,900 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 11,438. The firm has a market capitalization of $308.87, a PE ratio of 21.56 and a beta of 0.74. Southern First Bancshares has a 52 week low of $31.40 and a 52 week high of $43.20. The company has a quick ratio of 1.03, a current ratio of 1.04 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.36.

Southern First Bancshares (NASDAQ:SFST) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The bank reported $0.55 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.53 by $0.02. The company had revenue of $15.85 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $15.22 million. Southern First Bancshares had a net margin of 21.10% and a return on equity of 11.10%. sell-side analysts predict that Southern First Bancshares will post 2.03 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other news, President F Justin Strickland sold 1,250 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, November 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $39.00, for a total transaction of $48,750.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the president now owns 62,889 shares in the company, valued at $2,452,671. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, CFO Michael D. Dowling sold 4,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, November 30th. The stock was sold at an average price of $42.29, for a total transaction of $169,160.00. Following the transaction, the chief financial officer now owns 28,007 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,184,416.03. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 12.85% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in SFST. Globeflex Capital L P bought a new position in shares of Southern First Bancshares during the second quarter worth about $112,000. SG Americas Securities LLC bought a new position in Southern First Bancshares in the 3rd quarter valued at about $189,000. Rhumbline Advisers bought a new position in Southern First Bancshares in the 2nd quarter valued at about $253,000. OxFORD Asset Management LLP bought a new position in Southern First Bancshares in the 2nd quarter valued at about $312,000. Finally, New York State Common Retirement Fund grew its position in Southern First Bancshares by 169.1% in the 2nd quarter. New York State Common Retirement Fund now owns 8,592 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $318,000 after buying an additional 5,399 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 70.12% of the company’s stock.

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Southern First Bancshares Company Profile

Southern First Bancshares, Inc is a bank holding company that owns the capital stock of Southern First Bank (the Bank), a South Carolina state bank, and all of the stock of Greenville First Statutory Trust I and II (the Trusts). The Bank is a commercial bank with approximately nine retail offices located in Greenville, Columbia and Charleston, South Carolina.

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