First Financial Bancorp (FFBC) Upgraded at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note published on Tuesday morning. The firm currently has $30.00 target price on the bank’s stock.

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 research analysts have also recently weighed in on the company. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reiterated a hold rating and set a $27.00 price target on shares of First Financial Bancorp in a research report on Monday, April 10th. DA Davidson assumed coverage on First Financial Bancorp in a research report on Thursday, March 23rd. They set a buy rating and a $30.00 price target on the stock. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. First Financial Bancorp presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $26.17.

Analyst Recommendations for First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC)

Shares of First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) traded down 0.39% during midday trading on Tuesday, reaching $25.65. 44,191 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged. First Financial Bancorp has a 12 month low of $18.00 and a 12 month high of $29.80. The company has a market cap of $1.59 billion, a P/E ratio of 17.10 and a beta of 1.18. The firm has a 50 day moving average price of $27.24 and a 200 day moving average price of $27.15.

First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, April 20th. The bank reported $0.39 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.35 by $0.04. First Financial Bancorp had a return on equity of 10.42% and a net margin of 23.57%. The firm had revenue of $86.30 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $86.84 million. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $0.32 earnings per share. Equities research analysts forecast that First Financial Bancorp will post $1.56 earnings per share for the current fiscal 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 given a dividend of $0.17 per share. This represents a $0.68 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.64%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, May 31st. First Financial Bancorp’s dividend payout ratio is presently 44.76%.

In other news, insider Paul C. Silva sold 1,713 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, May 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $27.66, for a total transaction of $47,381.58. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 2,051 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $56,730.66. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Corporate insiders own 2.19% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Macquarie Group Ltd. raised its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 1.3% in the first quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 2,466,492 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $67,705,000 after buying an additional 30,856 shares during the last quarter. HighTower Advisors LLC raised its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 15.8% in the first quarter. HighTower Advisors LLC now owns 23,153 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $636,000 after buying an additional 3,153 shares during the last quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC raised its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 13.7% in the first quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC now owns 226,504 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $6,218,000 after buying an additional 27,214 shares during the last quarter. State Street Corp raised its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 14.6% in the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 1,939,096 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $53,223,000 after buying an additional 247,198 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Bank of America Corp DE raised its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 254.4% in the first quarter. Bank of America Corp DE now owns 226,074 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $6,206,000 after buying an additional 162,292 shares during the last quarter. 73.20% 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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