First Financial Bancorp. (FFBC) Lowered to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of First Financial Bancorp. (NASDAQ:FFBC) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report sent to investors 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. “

FFBC has been the subject of a number of other research reports. DA Davidson initiated coverage on First Financial Bancorp. in a research report on Thursday, March 23rd. They set a buy rating and a $30.00 price objective for the company. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reiterated a hold rating and set a $27.00 price objective on shares of First Financial Bancorp. in a research report on Monday, April 10th. BidaskClub upgraded First Financial Bancorp. from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report on Wednesday, June 14th. Finally, ValuEngine upgraded First Financial Bancorp. from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report on Wednesday, May 31st. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have issued a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company. First Financial Bancorp. has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $26.00.

Shares of First Financial Bancorp. (NASDAQ FFBC) traded down 0.73% during midday trading on Monday, hitting $27.10. The stock had a trading volume of 28,695 shares. First Financial Bancorp. has a 12 month low of $18.00 and a 12 month high of $29.80. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $26.65 and its 200-day moving average is $27.50. The stock has a market cap of $1.68 billion, a PE ratio of 18.07 and a beta of 1.21.

First Financial Bancorp. (NASDAQ:FFBC) last posted its quarterly earnings results 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. First Financial Bancorp. had a return on equity of 10.79% and a net margin of 24.42%. The firm had revenue of $86.30 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $86.84 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $0.32 earnings per share. Equities analysts anticipate that First Financial Bancorp. will post $1.56 EPS for the current year.

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The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, July 3rd. Investors of record on Friday, June 2nd will be given a dividend of $0.17 per share. This represents a $0.68 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.49%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, May 31st. First Financial Bancorp.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 45.33%.

In related news, insider Paul C. Silva sold 1,713 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on 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 sale, the insider now owns 2,051 shares in the company, valued at $56,730.66. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. 1.88% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. AQR Capital Management LLC raised its stake in First Financial Bancorp. by 4.0% in the fourth quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC now owns 199,290 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $5,670,000 after buying an additional 7,623 shares in the last quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC raised its stake in First Financial Bancorp. by 5.4% in the fourth quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 347,800 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $9,895,000 after buying an additional 17,800 shares in the last quarter. Capital One National Association raised its stake in First Financial Bancorp. by 1.0% in the first quarter. Capital One National Association now owns 25,670 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $705,000 after buying an additional 260 shares in the last quarter. American Century Companies Inc. raised its stake in First Financial Bancorp. by 747.7% in the first quarter. American Century Companies Inc. now owns 195,286 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $5,361,000 after buying an additional 172,249 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Barings LLC bought a new stake in First Financial Bancorp. during the fourth quarter valued at about $296,000. Institutional investors own 74.48% 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.new TradingView.widget({ “height”: 400, “width”: 625, “symbol”: “NASDAQ:FFBC”, “interval”: “D”, “timezone”: “Etc/UTC”, “theme”: “White”, “style”: “1”, “locale”: “en”, “toolbar_bg”: “#f1f3f6”, “enable_publishing”: false, “hideideas”: true, “referral_id”: “2588”});

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