Zacks Investment Research Downgrades First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) to Hold

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First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued on Monday, 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. “

A number of other analysts have also recently commented on FFBC. Royal Bank of Canada set a $24.00 target price on shares of First Financial Bancorp and gave the company a “hold” rating in a report on Monday, October 21st. ValuEngine raised First Financial Bancorp from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, October 30th. Finally, BidaskClub lowered First Financial Bancorp from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Tuesday, January 14th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $28.20.

Shares of NASDAQ FFBC opened at $24.84 on Monday. The company has a market cap of $2.47 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 12.00 and a beta of 1.24. The firm’s fifty day moving average is $25.20 and its 200 day moving average is $24.36. First Financial Bancorp has a 52 week low of $22.07 and a 52 week high of $28.59. The company has a quick ratio of 0.95, a current ratio of 0.96 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.72.

In other news, Chairman Claude E. Davis sold 25,000 shares of First Financial Bancorp stock in a transaction dated Monday, December 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $24.52, for a total value of $613,000.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chairman now owns 304,860 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $7,475,167.20. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. 2.00% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Parallel Advisors LLC purchased a new position in shares of First Financial Bancorp in the 3rd quarter worth about $25,000. Versant Capital Management Inc raised its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 109.5% in the 3rd quarter. Versant Capital Management Inc now owns 1,274 shares of the bank’s stock worth $31,000 after purchasing an additional 666 shares during the last quarter. First Mercantile Trust Co. raised its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 11.6% in the 3rd quarter. First Mercantile Trust Co. now owns 4,057 shares of the bank’s stock worth $99,000 after purchasing an additional 422 shares during the last quarter. Stock Yards Bank & Trust Co. purchased a new position in shares of First Financial Bancorp in the 4th quarter worth about $311,000. Finally, Foundry Partners LLC raised its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 13.2% in the 3rd quarter. Foundry Partners LLC now owns 15,214 shares of the bank’s stock worth $372,000 after purchasing an additional 1,776 shares during the last quarter. 75.64% of the stock is 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.

Further Reading: Cash Flow

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