First Financial Bancorp. (FFBC) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research to Hold

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of First Financial Bancorp. (NASDAQ:FFBC) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report report published on Monday morning.

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. “

A number of other brokerages have also recently commented on FFBC. BidaskClub raised First Financial Bancorp. from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Wednesday, June 14th. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reaffirmed a hold rating and issued a $27.00 price target on shares of First Financial Bancorp. in a research note on Monday, April 10th. DA Davidson began coverage on First Financial Bancorp. in a research note on Thursday, March 23rd. They issued a buy rating and a $30.00 price target for the company. Finally, ValuEngine raised First Financial Bancorp. from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Wednesday, May 31st. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have issued a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company. First Financial Bancorp. has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $26.33.

First Financial Bancorp. (FFBC) opened at 26.35 on Monday. The firm has a market capitalization of $1.64 billion, a PE ratio of 17.57 and a beta of 1.21. The firm has a 50 day moving average of $26.62 and a 200 day moving average of $27.50. First Financial Bancorp. has a one year low of $18.00 and a one year high of $29.80.

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

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

In other news, insider Paul C. Silva sold 1,713 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated 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 sale, the insider now directly owns 2,051 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $56,730.66. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Corporate insiders own 1.88% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Teachers Advisors LLC boosted its stake in shares of First Financial Bancorp. by 2.5% in the fourth quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC now owns 101,896 shares of the bank’s stock worth $2,899,000 after buying an additional 2,465 shares during the period. Norges Bank acquired a new stake in First Financial Bancorp. during the fourth quarter worth about $17,149,000. Miles Capital Inc. boosted its stake in First Financial Bancorp. by 7.0% in the fourth quarter. Miles Capital Inc. now owns 10,108 shares of the bank’s stock worth $288,000 after buying an additional 663 shares during the last quarter. Numeric Investors LLC acquired a new stake in First Financial Bancorp. during the fourth quarter worth about $1,070,000. Finally, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans boosted its stake in First Financial Bancorp. by 1.2% in the fourth quarter. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans now owns 152,380 shares of the bank’s stock worth $4,335,000 after buying an additional 1,760 shares during the last quarter. 74.48% of the stock is owned by 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.

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