Business First Bancshares (NASDAQ:BFST) Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research to Hold

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Business First Bancshares (NASDAQ:BFST) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report released on Thursday morning, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “Business First Bancshares Inc. provides commercial and personal banking services to small to midsize businesses. Its services includes checking and savings accounts, certificates of deposit, individual retirement accounts, consumer loans, commercial and non-profit checking, commercial interest checking, business sweep investment, essential business checking, business value checking accounts, business loans, cash management and merchant processing and other services. The company operates primarily in Baton Rouge, Brusly, Covington, Denham Springs, Erwinville, Gonzales, Houma, Lafayette, New Orleans, Shreveport, Port Allen, Zachary and Lake Charles, Louisiana as well as Dallas, Texas. Business First Bancshares Inc. is based in Clayton, United States. “

Other equities analysts also recently issued reports about the stock. BidaskClub upgraded shares of Business First Bancshares from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report on Wednesday, June 10th. DA Davidson cut Business First Bancshares from a buy rating to a neutral rating and set a $15.00 target price on the stock. in a research note on Friday, May 1st. ValuEngine upgraded Business First Bancshares from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report on Friday, July 3rd. Finally, Raymond James cut Business First Bancshares from a strong-buy rating to a market perform rating in a report on Wednesday, April 29th. Five investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and one has given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $22.25.

NASDAQ BFST opened at $13.64 on Thursday. The business’s 50 day moving average price is $14.39 and its 200-day moving average price is $16.82. Business First Bancshares has a fifty-two week low of $9.17 and a fifty-two week high of $26.64. The company has a market cap of $281.90 million, a P/E ratio of 8.07 and a beta of 0.97. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.58, a quick ratio of 1.03 and a current ratio of 1.03.

Business First Bancshares (NASDAQ:BFST) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, July 29th. The company reported $0.41 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.30 by $0.11. Business First Bancshares had a net margin of 13.94% and a return on equity of 8.75%. The company had revenue of $35.92 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $33.81 million. As a group, equities analysts predict that Business First Bancshares will post 1.51 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, August 31st. Shareholders of record on Saturday, August 15th will be paid a $0.10 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, August 13th. This represents a $0.40 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.93%. Business First Bancshares’s dividend payout ratio is currently 22.22%.

In related news, Director Steven Gerard White purchased 3,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, May 14th. The stock was purchased at an average price of $11.18 per share, with a total value of $39,130.00. Following the completion of the purchase, the director now owns 7,140 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $79,825.20. The acquisition was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Company insiders own 7.60% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Strs Ohio purchased a new position in shares of Business First Bancshares during the first quarter valued at $32,000. Citigroup Inc. grew its holdings in Business First Bancshares by 39.9% during the 1st quarter. Citigroup Inc. now owns 3,501 shares of the company’s stock worth $47,000 after acquiring an additional 998 shares in the last quarter. Acadian Asset Management LLC increased its position in Business First Bancshares by 58.4% during the 1st quarter. Acadian Asset Management LLC now owns 5,377 shares of the company’s stock valued at $73,000 after purchasing an additional 1,982 shares during the period. SG Americas Securities LLC bought a new stake in shares of Business First Bancshares in the 2nd quarter valued at about $102,000. Finally, Wedge Capital Management L L P NC bought a new stake in shares of Business First Bancshares in the 1st quarter valued at about $147,000. 27.00% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Business First Bancshares

Business First Bancshares, Inc operates as the bank holding company for Business First Bank that provides various banking products and services. It offers various deposit products and services, including a range of checking, demand, money market, time, and savings accounts, as well as certificates of deposit; and remote deposit capture and direct deposit services.

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