First Bancorp (NYSE:FBP) Sees Large Growth in Short Interest

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First Bancorp (NYSE:FBP) was the recipient of a large growth in short interest during the month of November. As of November 29th, there was short interest totalling 1,770,000 shares, a growth of 24.6% from the November 14th total of 1,420,000 shares. Based on an average daily volume of 1,140,000 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is currently 1.6 days. Approximately 0.8% of the shares of the company are short sold.

Several brokerages recently commented on FBP. ValuEngine lowered shares of First Bancorp from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Tuesday, September 10th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of First Bancorp from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $12.00 price objective for the company in a research report on Thursday, October 24th.

A number of large investors have recently modified their holdings of FBP. USA Financial Portformulas Corp grew its stake in shares of First Bancorp by 7.9% during the 2nd quarter. USA Financial Portformulas Corp now owns 16,551 shares of the bank’s stock worth $190,000 after purchasing an additional 1,213 shares during the period. Mason Street Advisors LLC grew its stake in First Bancorp by 1.7% in the 3rd quarter. Mason Street Advisors LLC now owns 73,791 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $736,000 after acquiring an additional 1,246 shares during the period. Stone Ridge Asset Management LLC grew its stake in First Bancorp by 2.2% in the 2nd quarter. Stone Ridge Asset Management LLC now owns 78,877 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $871,000 after acquiring an additional 1,700 shares during the period. Aperio Group LLC grew its stake in First Bancorp by 1.1% in the 2nd quarter. Aperio Group LLC now owns 237,808 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $2,625,000 after acquiring an additional 2,646 shares during the period. Finally, North Star Investment Management Corp. acquired a new stake in First Bancorp in the 3rd quarter valued at $27,000. Institutional investors own 89.93% of the company’s stock.

Shares of First Bancorp stock traded up $0.13 during midday trading on Thursday, hitting $10.61. The company had a trading volume of 384,019 shares, compared to its average volume of 887,567. The stock has a market cap of $2.27 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.10, a PEG ratio of 0.74 and a beta of 1.55. The company has a quick ratio of 1.04, a current ratio of 1.05 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.43. The company has a fifty day simple moving average of $10.55 and a 200 day simple moving average of $10.23. First Bancorp has a 12-month low of $7.91 and a 12-month high of $11.94.

First Bancorp (NYSE:FBP) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, October 22nd. The bank reported $0.20 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.19 by $0.01. First Bancorp had a net margin of 30.46% and a return on equity of 7.93%. The firm had revenue of $165.83 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $171.90 million. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.16 EPS. As a group, analysts expect that First Bancorp will post 0.75 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 13th. Investors of record on Friday, November 29th will be issued a $0.05 dividend. This represents a $0.20 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.89%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, November 27th. This is an increase from First Bancorp’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.03. First Bancorp’s dividend payout ratio is 32.26%.

First Bancorp Company Profile

First BanCorp. operates as the bank holding company for FirstBank Puerto Rico that provides a range of financial products and services to retail, commercial, and institutional clients. The company operates in six segments: Commercial and Corporate Banking, Consumer (Retail) Banking, Mortgage Banking, Treasury and Investments, United States Operations, and Virgin Islands Operations.

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