First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) Position Boosted by BlackRock Inc.

BlackRock Inc. increased its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) by 5.4% in the first quarter, according to the company in its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm owned 14,311,731 shares of the bank’s stock after purchasing an additional 735,295 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. owned approximately 14.51% of First Financial Bancorp worth $344,339,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Other hedge funds have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Bessemer Group Inc. lifted its holdings in First Financial Bancorp by 598.7% during the 4th quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. now owns 1,076 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $26,000 after buying an additional 922 shares in the last quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund acquired a new stake in shares of First Financial Bancorp in the fourth quarter valued at about $37,000. Versant Capital Management Inc raised its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 118.3% in the first quarter. Versant Capital Management Inc now owns 2,240 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $53,000 after buying an additional 1,214 shares during the last quarter. Investors Research Corp acquired a new stake in shares of First Financial Bancorp in the first quarter valued at about $96,000. Finally, Strs Ohio raised its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 15.7% in the fourth quarter. Strs Ohio now owns 5,900 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $139,000 after buying an additional 800 shares during the last quarter. 74.78% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Shares of FFBC stock opened at $22.54 on Thursday. The company has a quick ratio of 0.91, a current ratio of 0.92 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.70. The stock has a market cap of $2.23 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 9.89, a P/E/G ratio of 1.05 and a beta of 1.25. First Financial Bancorp has a 1-year low of $22.07 and a 1-year high of $33.30.

First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, April 25th. The bank reported $0.47 earnings per share for the quarter, hitting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.47. The company had revenue of $148.34 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $150.53 million. First Financial Bancorp had a net margin of 26.28% and a return on equity of 10.60%. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $0.49 earnings per share. Equities research analysts anticipate that First Financial Bancorp will post 2.15 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, June 17th. Shareholders of record on Monday, June 3rd will be paid a dividend of $0.22 per share. This represents a $0.88 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.90%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, May 31st. First Financial Bancorp’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 38.60%.

A number of equities research analysts recently issued reports on FFBC shares. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of First Financial Bancorp from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, April 30th. BidaskClub raised shares of First Financial Bancorp from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Friday, June 7th. Finally, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods lowered shares of First Financial Bancorp from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and dropped their price objective for the company from $31.00 to $30.00 in a report on Sunday, February 24th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have assigned a hold rating and one has issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $28.40.

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About First Financial Bancorp

First Financial Bancorp. operates as the bank holding company for First Financial Bank that provides commercial banking and related services to individuals and businesses in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and Illinois. The company accepts various deposit products, such as interest-bearing and noninterest-bearing accounts, time deposits, and cash management services for commercial customers.

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC)

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