First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) Raised to Buy at BidaskClub

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BidaskClub upgraded shares of First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report released on Thursday, BidAskClub reports.

A number of other brokerages have also commented on FFBC. ValuEngine upgraded shares of First Financial Bancorp from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report on Wednesday, October 30th. Royal Bank of Canada set a $24.00 price objective on shares of First Financial Bancorp and gave the stock a hold rating in a report on Monday, October 21st. Finally, Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of First Financial Bancorp from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report on Thursday, October 17th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $27.50.

Shares of FFBC stock opened at $25.14 on Thursday. First Financial Bancorp has a 12 month low of $22.07 and a 12 month high of $28.59. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.72, a current ratio of 0.96 and a quick ratio of 0.95. The firm has a market capitalization of $2.51 billion, a P/E ratio of 11.03 and a beta of 1.23. The company’s fifty day moving average price is $24.17 and its two-hundred day moving average price is $23.93.

First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 17th. The bank reported $0.56 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.54 by $0.02. First Financial Bancorp had a net margin of 27.72% and a return on equity of 10.13%. The firm had revenue of $154.68 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $150.98 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business posted $0.58 EPS. On average, sell-side analysts anticipate that First Financial Bancorp will post 2.13 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, December 16th. Stockholders of record on Monday, December 2nd will be paid a $0.23 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Friday, November 29th. This represents a $0.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.66%. First Financial Bancorp’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 40.35%.

In other news, Chairman Claude E. Davis sold 25,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, December 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $24.52, for a total value of $613,000.00. Following the sale, the chairman now owns 304,860 shares in the company, valued at approximately $7,475,167.20. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Corporate insiders own 2.00% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. BlackRock Inc. raised its stake in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 1.5% in the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 14,530,060 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $351,917,000 after purchasing an additional 218,329 shares in the last quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. grew its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 4.8% during the 2nd quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 5,266,350 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $127,557,000 after buying an additional 240,753 shares during the last quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. grew its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 4.9% during the 2nd quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 3,547,322 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $84,604,000 after buying an additional 164,209 shares during the last quarter. Northern Trust Corp grew its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 7.6% during the 2nd quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 2,477,830 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $60,012,000 after buying an additional 175,710 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Neumeier Poma Investment Counsel LLC grew its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 6.1% during the 2nd quarter. Neumeier Poma Investment Counsel LLC now owns 1,668,348 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $40,407,000 after buying an additional 95,370 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 75.63% 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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