First Financial Bancorp (FFBC) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research

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

Several other analysts also recently weighed in on the stock. DA Davidson raised shares of First Financial Bancorp from a neutral rating to a buy rating in a research note on Thursday, July 26th. Stephens reissued a buy rating and issued a $35.00 price objective on shares of First Financial Bancorp in a research note on Monday, July 23rd. Barclays reduced their price objective on shares of First Financial Bancorp from $32.00 to $31.00 and set a $31.40 rating for the company in a research note on Monday, July 23rd. Sandler O’Neill reissued a buy rating and issued a $35.00 price objective on shares of First Financial Bancorp in a research note on Friday, July 20th. Finally, BidaskClub downgraded shares of First Financial Bancorp from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note on Tuesday, July 17th. Seven equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $31.67.

Shares of First Financial Bancorp remained flat at $$31.05 on Thursday, Marketbeat Ratings reports. 174,476 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 326,081. The company has a quick ratio of 0.92, a current ratio of 0.93 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.78. First Financial Bancorp has a 1 year low of $22.80 and a 1 year high of $33.70. The company has a market capitalization of $3.04 billion, a P/E ratio of 19.29, a PEG ratio of 1.41 and a beta of 1.05.

First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 19th. The bank reported $0.57 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.52 by $0.05. First Financial Bancorp had a net margin of 25.41% and a return on equity of 12.13%. The firm had revenue of $152.20 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $147.77 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $0.37 earnings per share. The company’s revenue was up 77.0% on a year-over-year basis. research analysts expect that First Financial Bancorp will post 2.2 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, September 17th. Investors of record on Monday, September 3rd will be paid a $0.20 dividend. This is an increase from First Financial Bancorp’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.19. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, August 30th. This represents a $0.80 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.58%. First Financial Bancorp’s payout ratio is 47.20%.

In related news, Director John T. Neighbours sold 850 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, June 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $32.50, for a total value of $27,625.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 8,026 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $260,845. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, Director Vince Berta acquired 1,500 shares of First Financial Bancorp stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, July 31st. The stock was acquired at an average cost of $29.95 per share, with a total value of $44,925.00. Following the purchase, the director now directly owns 6,527 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $195,483.65. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders own 3.36% of the company’s stock.

A number of large investors have recently modified their holdings of FFBC. First Mercantile Trust Co. purchased a new position in First Financial Bancorp in the second quarter worth $105,000. SG Americas Securities LLC purchased a new position in First Financial Bancorp in the first quarter worth $120,000. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. grew its holdings in First Financial Bancorp by 597.3% in the second quarter. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. now owns 4,567 shares of the bank’s stock worth $140,000 after purchasing an additional 3,912 shares during the last quarter. Neuburgh Advisers LLC purchased a new position in First Financial Bancorp in the second quarter worth $146,000. Finally, Riverhead Capital Management LLC purchased a new position in First Financial Bancorp in the second quarter worth $159,000. 80.55% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

First Financial Bancorp Company Profile

First Financial Bancorp. operates as the bank holding company for First Financial Bank that provides commercial banking and other banking, and banking-related services to individuals and businesses in Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky. 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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