Trade Report: The First Financial Bancorp (FFBC) Upgraded at Zacks Investment Research

The 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 report report published on Wednesday morning. The firm currently has $24.00 price objective on the 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 research analysts have also recently commented on the stock. Barclays PLC raised their target price on shares of First Financial Bancorp from $20.00 to $22.00 and gave the stock an underweight rating in a report on Tuesday, October 11th. Raymond James Financial Inc. cut shares of First Financial Bancorp from an outperform rating to a market perform rating in a report on Thursday, October 6th. Piper Jaffray Cos. initiated coverage on shares of First Financial Bancorp in a research report on Thursday, October 6th. They set a neutral rating and a $23.00 price objective on the stock. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods boosted their price objective on shares of First Financial Bancorp from $19.00 to $21.00 and gave the company a market perform rating in a research report on Monday, July 25th. Finally, Hilliard Lyons downgraded shares of First Financial Bancorp from a buy rating to a neutral rating in a research report on Monday, July 25th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have assigned a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $20.81.

First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) opened at 21.10 on Wednesday. The stock has a market capitalization of $1.31 billion, a P/E ratio of 16.23 and a beta of 1.19. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $21.71 and a 200 day moving average of $20.30. First Financial Bancorp has a 52 week low of $13.76 and a 52 week high of $22.53.

First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, July 21st. The company reported $0.36 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.34 by $0.02. First Financial Bancorp had a net margin of 22.23% and a return on equity of 9.82%. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $0.31 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts predict that First Financial Bancorp will post $1.41 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, October 3rd. Shareholders of record on Friday, September 2nd were paid a $0.16 dividend. This represents a $0.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.03%. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, August 31st. First Financial Bancorp’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 49.23%.

In other First Financial Bancorp news, EVP Holly M. Foster sold 2,021 shares of First Financial Bancorp stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, August 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $21.84, for a total value of $44,138.64. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 4,979 shares in the company, valued at $108,741.36. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, Director Knapke Murph sold 15,000 shares of First Financial Bancorp stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, August 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $21.20, for a total transaction of $318,000.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 50,929 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,079,694.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 2.19% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Aperio Group LLC boosted its stake in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 19.0% in the first quarter. Aperio Group LLC now owns 18,717 shares of the company’s stock worth $340,000 after buying an additional 2,987 shares during the last quarter. IFP Advisors Inc boosted its stake in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 0.9% in the first quarter. IFP Advisors Inc now owns 5,529 shares of the company’s stock worth $101,000 after buying an additional 49 shares during the last quarter. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC boosted its stake in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 18.5% in the first quarter. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC now owns 239,947 shares of the company’s stock worth $4,362,000 after buying an additional 37,419 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Group LTD boosted its stake in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 4.8% in the first quarter. BlackRock Group LTD now owns 92,294 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,678,000 after buying an additional 4,218 shares during the last quarter. Finally, BlackRock Fund Advisors boosted its stake in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 1.2% in the first quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors now owns 3,856,226 shares of the company’s stock worth $70,106,000 after buying an additional 44,487 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 72.66% of the company’s stock.

About First Financial Bancorp

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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