First Bancorp (FBNC) Receives Consensus Recommendation of “Buy” from Analysts

First Bancorp (NASDAQ:FBNC) has earned an average recommendation of “Buy” from the seven analysts that are covering the firm, MarketBeat Ratings reports. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold recommendation and five have given a buy recommendation to the company. The average 1 year target price among brokerages that have covered the stock in the last year is $41.00.

A number of research analysts have commented on the company. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $41.00 price objective on shares of First Bancorp in a report on Friday, December 22nd. Brean Capital reaffirmed a “buy” rating on shares of First Bancorp in a report on Tuesday, January 2nd. Piper Jaffray Companies reaffirmed an “overweight” rating and issued a $37.00 price objective on shares of First Bancorp in a report on Thursday, October 5th. Stephens assumed coverage on First Bancorp in a report on Monday, December 4th. They issued an “equal weight” rating on the stock. Finally, Zacks Investment Research raised First Bancorp from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $39.00 price objective on the stock in a report on Thursday, October 5th.

In related news, CEO Richard H. Moore bought 2,755 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, December 20th. The stock was purchased at an average cost of $36.00 per share, for a total transaction of $99,180.00. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 121,741 shares in the company, valued at approximately $4,382,676. The acquisition was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, insider Suzanne S. Deferie sold 12,001 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, December 27th. The shares were sold at an average price of $35.67, for a total value of $428,075.67. Following the sale, the insider now owns 113,408 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $4,045,263.36. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 2.37% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. BB&T Securities LLC bought a new stake in shares of First Bancorp during the 3rd quarter valued at $423,000. State Street Corp lifted its position in shares of First Bancorp by 27.9% during the 2nd quarter. State Street Corp now owns 461,813 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $14,436,000 after buying an additional 100,632 shares during the last quarter. B. Riley Financial Inc. bought a new stake in shares of First Bancorp during the 2nd quarter worth $625,000. Northern Trust Corp lifted its position in shares of First Bancorp by 12.1% during the 2nd quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 291,653 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $9,116,000 after buying an additional 31,475 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Macquarie Group Ltd. lifted its position in shares of First Bancorp by 19.6% during the 2nd quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 474,843 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $14,844,000 after buying an additional 77,737 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 56.58% of the company’s stock.

First Bancorp (FBNC) traded down $0.20 during mid-day trading on Tuesday, hitting $36.73. The company had a trading volume of 81,400 shares, compared to its average volume of 97,543. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.78, a current ratio of 1.05 and a quick ratio of 1.05. The firm has a market cap of $1,094.75, a price-to-earnings ratio of 21.35, a PEG ratio of 1.16 and a beta of 1.10. First Bancorp has a 1-year low of $27.50 and a 1-year high of $41.76.

First Bancorp (NASDAQ:FBNC) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, October 24th. The financial services provider reported $0.53 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.48 by $0.05. First Bancorp had a return on equity of 8.93% and a net margin of 19.96%. research analysts predict that First Bancorp will post 2.03 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, January 25th. Shareholders of record on Sunday, December 31st will be issued a $0.08 dividend. This represents a $0.32 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 0.87%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, December 28th. First Bancorp’s dividend payout ratio is 18.60%.

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About First Bancorp

First Bancorp is the bank holding company for First Bank (the Bank). The Company’s principal activity is the ownership and operation of First Bank. The Bank engages in a range of banking activities, including the acceptance of deposits and the making of loans. The Bank offers credit cards, debit cards, letters of credit, safe deposit box rentals and electronic funds transfer services, including wire transfers.

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