First Financial Bancorp (FFBC) Given Consensus Rating of “Hold” by Brokerages

Shares of First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) have received a consensus recommendation of “Hold” from the eleven research firms that are currently covering the stock, Marketbeat reports. Seven equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold recommendation and three have assigned a buy recommendation to the company. The average twelve-month price objective among analysts that have updated their coverage on the stock in the last year is $32.40.

Several research firms recently commented on FFBC. Zacks Investment Research lowered First Financial Bancorp from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, August 9th. DA Davidson raised First Financial Bancorp from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, July 26th. Stephens reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $35.00 target price on shares of First Financial Bancorp in a report on Monday, July 23rd. Barclays lowered their price target on First Financial Bancorp from $32.00 to $31.00 and set a “$31.40” rating on the stock in a research report on Monday, July 23rd. Finally, Sandler O’Neill reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $35.00 price target on shares of First Financial Bancorp in a research report on Friday, July 20th.

First Financial Bancorp stock traded up $0.50 during midday trading on Friday, hitting $30.45. 365,994 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 218,167. The firm has a market cap of $2.94 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.91, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.34 and a beta of 1.03. First Financial Bancorp has a fifty-two week low of $24.25 and a fifty-two week high of $33.70. The company has a quick ratio of 0.92, a current ratio of 0.93 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.78.

First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, July 19th. The bank reported $0.57 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.52 by $0.05. The firm had revenue of $152.20 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $147.77 million. First Financial Bancorp had a return on equity of 12.13% and a net margin of 25.41%. First Financial Bancorp’s revenue for the quarter was up 77.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.37 earnings per share. equities analysts expect that First Financial Bancorp will post 2.25 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, September 17th. Shareholders of record on Monday, September 3rd will be given a dividend of $0.20 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, August 30th. This represents a $0.80 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.63%. This is an increase from First Financial Bancorp’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.19. First Financial Bancorp’s dividend payout ratio is currently 49.69%.

In other First Financial Bancorp news, Director John T. Neighbours sold 850 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, June 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $32.50, for a total transaction of $27,625.00. Following the transaction, the director now owns 8,026 shares in the company, valued at $260,845. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, COO Anthony M. Stollings sold 15,847 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, August 17th. The shares were sold at an average price of $31.59, for a total value of $500,606.73. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have acquired 2,193 shares of company stock worth $66,237 in the last quarter. 3.36% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. First Mercantile Trust Co. purchased a new position in shares of First Financial Bancorp in the second quarter valued at approximately $105,000. SG Americas Securities LLC purchased a new position in shares of First Financial Bancorp in the first quarter valued at approximately $120,000. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. lifted its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 597.3% in the second quarter. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. now owns 4,567 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $140,000 after acquiring an additional 3,912 shares in the last quarter. Neuburgh Advisers LLC purchased a new position in shares of First Financial Bancorp in the second quarter valued at approximately $146,000. Finally, Riverhead Capital Management LLC purchased a new position in shares of First Financial Bancorp in the second quarter valued at approximately $159,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 74.25% of the company’s stock.

About First Financial Bancorp

First Financial Bancorp. operates as the bank holding company for First Financial Bank that provides commercial banking and other banking, and banking-related services to individuals and businesses in Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky. 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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Analyst Recommendations for First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC)

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