First Financial Bancorp (FFBC) Lifted to “Buy” at BidaskClub

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First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) was upgraded by equities researchers at BidaskClub from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report issued on Wednesday.

FFBC has been the topic of several other research reports. ValuEngine downgraded shares of First Financial Bancorp from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Saturday, April 7th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of First Financial Bancorp from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, July 4th. Hilliard Lyons downgraded shares of First Financial Bancorp from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $33.00 target price on the stock. in a research note on Monday, April 23rd. DA Davidson downgraded shares of First Financial Bancorp from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $30.00 target price on the stock. in a research note on Friday, May 18th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Finally, Sandler O’Neill reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $34.00 target price on shares of First Financial Bancorp in a research note on Friday, April 20th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the stock. First Financial Bancorp currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $31.33.

Shares of NASDAQ FFBC opened at $31.65 on Wednesday. The company has a market capitalization of $3.11 billion, a PE ratio of 17.86, a PEG ratio of 1.47 and a beta of 1.10. First Financial Bancorp has a 52-week low of $22.80 and a 52-week high of $33.70. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.82, a quick ratio of 0.91 and a current ratio of 0.91.

First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, April 19th. The bank reported $0.52 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.47 by $0.05. The firm had revenue of $92.75 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $93.03 million. First Financial Bancorp had a net margin of 26.91% and a return on equity of 12.18%. The business’s revenue was up 7.5% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted ($0.17) earnings per share. research analysts anticipate that First Financial Bancorp will post 2.17 earnings per share for the current year.

In related news, insider Bradley J. Ringwald sold 2,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, April 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $31.11, for a total transaction of $62,220.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Chairman Claude E. Davis sold 19,379 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, May 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $32.19, for a total transaction of $623,810.01. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders have sold 57,229 shares of company stock worth $1,841,705. 3.36% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of FFBC. California Public Employees Retirement System lifted its position in First Financial Bancorp by 2.3% during the fourth quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 106,845 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $2,815,000 after purchasing an additional 2,401 shares during the period. Wells Fargo & Company MN raised its position in First Financial Bancorp by 12.4% in the fourth quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 170,762 shares of the bank’s stock worth $4,499,000 after acquiring an additional 18,891 shares during the period. Rhumbline Advisers raised its position in First Financial Bancorp by 12.8% in the fourth quarter. Rhumbline Advisers now owns 149,923 shares of the bank’s stock worth $3,950,000 after acquiring an additional 17,025 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. raised its position in First Financial Bancorp by 2.8% in the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 8,036,293 shares of the bank’s stock worth $211,755,000 after acquiring an additional 219,964 shares during the period. Finally, Geode Capital Management LLC raised its position in First Financial Bancorp by 3.5% in the fourth quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 629,569 shares of the bank’s stock worth $16,588,000 after acquiring an additional 21,124 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 80.55% of the company’s stock.

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.

Analyst Recommendations for First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC)

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