First Financial Bancorp (FFBC) Downgraded by BidaskClub to “Sell”

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First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) was downgraded by investment analysts at BidaskClub from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note issued on Thursday.

FFBC has been the topic of several other research reports. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods lowered shares of First Financial Bancorp from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and dropped their price objective for the stock from $31.00 to $30.00 in a research note on Sunday, February 24th. Sandler O’Neill lowered shares of First Financial Bancorp from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $30.00 price target on the stock. in a research note on Thursday, November 29th. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of First Financial Bancorp from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Monday, December 24th. ValuEngine upgraded shares of First Financial Bancorp from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Monday, February 4th. Finally, Barclays restated a “sell” rating and issued a $26.00 price target on shares of First Financial Bancorp in a research note on Friday, January 11th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. First Financial Bancorp currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $30.43.

FFBC traded down $0.64 on Thursday, hitting $25.39. 412,551 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 280,259. The firm has a market cap of $2.75 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.14, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.22 and a beta of 1.23. First Financial Bancorp has a twelve month low of $22.27 and a twelve month high of $33.70. The company has a quick ratio of 0.91, a current ratio of 0.91 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.69.

First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) last released its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, January 23rd. The bank reported $0.61 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.58 by $0.03. The firm had revenue of $155.46 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $152.75 million. First Financial Bancorp had a net margin of 26.81% and a return on equity of 11.63%. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $0.45 earnings per share. Research analysts anticipate that First Financial Bancorp will post 2.31 earnings per share for the current year.

First Financial Bancorp announced that its Board of Directors has approved a stock repurchase plan on Monday, January 14th that permits the company to repurchase 0 outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization permits the bank to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are typically a sign that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.

Several large investors have recently made changes to their positions in FFBC. Bessemer Group Inc. increased its stake in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 598.7% during the fourth quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. now owns 1,076 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $26,000 after acquiring an additional 922 shares during the period. Eukles Asset Management acquired a new position in shares of First Financial Bancorp during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $49,000. Strs Ohio increased its stake in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 15.7% during the fourth quarter. Strs Ohio now owns 5,900 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $139,000 after acquiring an additional 800 shares during the period. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank increased its stake in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 14.3% during the fourth quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank now owns 7,078 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $168,000 after acquiring an additional 888 shares during the period. Finally, Sowell Financial Services LLC acquired a new position in shares of First Financial Bancorp during the third quarter valued at approximately $238,000. Institutional investors own 73.71% 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 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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Analyst Recommendations for First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC)

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