First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) Stock Rating Lowered by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report issued on Thursday morning, Zacks.com reports.

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. “

Other equities research analysts have also recently issued research reports about the company. Piper Jaffray Companies reissued a buy rating on shares of Beigene in a report on Thursday, June 20th. BidaskClub cut ZIX from a strong-buy rating to a buy rating in a report on Friday, June 7th. Finally, Stephens reissued a hold rating and set a $30.00 target price on shares of First Financial Bancorp in a report on Wednesday, April 10th. Four analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have issued a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the stock. First Financial Bancorp currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $28.50.

FFBC opened at $24.35 on Thursday. The company’s 50 day simple moving average is $23.37. The company has a market capitalization of $2.40 billion, a PE ratio of 10.92, a PEG ratio of 1.14 and a beta of 1.24. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.70, a quick ratio of 0.91 and a current ratio of 0.92. First Financial Bancorp has a twelve month low of $22.07 and a twelve month high of $32.25.

First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, April 25th. The bank reported $0.47 EPS for the quarter, hitting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.47. First Financial Bancorp had a return on equity of 10.60% and a net margin of 26.28%. The firm had revenue of $148.34 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $150.53 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $0.49 earnings per share. On average, equities analysts forecast that First Financial Bancorp will post 2.13 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, June 17th. Investors of record on Monday, June 3rd were issued a dividend of $0.22 per share. The ex-dividend date was Friday, May 31st. This represents a $0.88 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.61%. First Financial Bancorp’s payout ratio is 38.60%.

A number of large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Bessemer Group Inc. increased its holdings in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 598.7% in the fourth 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. Versant Capital Management Inc increased its holdings 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 in the last quarter. Investors Research Corp bought a new position in shares of First Financial Bancorp in the first quarter valued at $96,000. Trustcore Financial Services LLC bought a new position in shares of First Financial Bancorp in the first quarter valued at $139,000. Finally, Eagle Ridge Investment Management bought a new position in shares of First Financial Bancorp in the first quarter valued at $200,000. 74.76% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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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