Zacks Investment Research Lowers First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) to Sell

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

Several other research firms have also commented on FFBC. Piper Jaffray Companies reissued a buy rating on shares of Beigene in a research report on Thursday, June 20th. BidaskClub lowered ZIX from a strong-buy rating to a buy rating in a research report on Friday, June 7th. Finally, Stephens reissued a hold rating and issued a $30.00 price objective on shares of First Financial Bancorp in a research report on Wednesday, April 10th. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $28.50.



NASDAQ:FFBC opened at $24.35 on Thursday. The firm has a 50-day moving average of $23.37. The company has a quick ratio of 0.91, a current ratio of 0.92 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.70. First Financial Bancorp has a 12 month low of $22.07 and a 12 month high of $32.25. The stock has a market capitalization of $2.40 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 10.92, a PEG ratio of 1.14 and a beta of 1.24.

First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, April 25th. The bank reported $0.47 EPS for the quarter, meeting the consensus estimate of $0.47. First Financial Bancorp had a return on equity of 10.60% and a net margin of 26.28%. The company had revenue of $148.34 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $150.53 million. During the same period last year, the company posted $0.49 earnings per share. On average, research analysts predict that First Financial Bancorp will post 2.13 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, June 17th. Stockholders of record on Monday, June 3rd were paid a dividend of $0.22 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, May 31st. This represents a $0.88 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.61%. First Financial Bancorp’s dividend payout ratio is presently 38.60%.

Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Nordea Investment Management AB grew its stake in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 3.7% during the first quarter. Nordea Investment Management AB now owns 168,570 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $4,056,000 after acquiring an additional 5,973 shares in the last quarter. Jennison Associates LLC grew its stake in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 53.4% during the first quarter. Jennison Associates LLC now owns 41,579 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $1,000,000 after acquiring an additional 14,475 shares in the last quarter. Walthausen & Co. LLC grew its stake in First Financial Bancorp by 25.9% in the first quarter. Walthausen & Co. LLC now owns 302,804 shares of the bank’s stock worth $7,285,000 after purchasing an additional 62,280 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. grew its stake in First Financial Bancorp by 5.4% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 14,311,731 shares of the bank’s stock worth $344,339,000 after purchasing an additional 735,295 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Anchor Capital Advisors LLC grew its stake in First Financial Bancorp by 5.1% in the first quarter. Anchor Capital Advisors LLC now owns 84,097 shares of the bank’s stock worth $2,023,000 after purchasing an additional 4,043 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 74.76% 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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