Zacks Investment Research cut shares of First Financial Bancorp. (NASDAQ:FFBC) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note released on Tuesday, October 3rd.

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. “

Other equities analysts have also issued research reports about the stock. Stephens raised shares of First Financial Bancorp. from an equal weight rating to an overweight rating and set a $31.00 price objective on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, July 26th. BidaskClub downgraded First Financial Bancorp. from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Wednesday, June 21st. Royal Bank Of Canada reiterated a hold rating and set a $28.00 price target on shares of First Financial Bancorp. in a report on Friday, September 8th. ValuEngine downgraded shares of First Financial Bancorp. from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note on Friday, September 1st. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies set a $28.00 price objective on shares of First Financial Bancorp. and gave the stock a hold rating in a research note on Tuesday, July 25th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the company. First Financial Bancorp. currently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $28.29.

First Financial Bancorp. (NASDAQ FFBC) traded down 0.57% during midday trading on Tuesday, reaching $26.15. 260,409 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. The firm’s 50 day moving average price is $25.03 and its 200-day moving average price is $26.26. The company has a market capitalization of $1.63 billion, a PE ratio of 17.32 and a beta of 1.20. First Financial Bancorp. has a 1-year low of $20.55 and a 1-year high of $29.80.

First Financial Bancorp. (NASDAQ:FFBC) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, July 25th. The bank reported $0.37 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.38 by ($0.01). The company had revenue of $85.97 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $89.52 million. First Financial Bancorp. had a return on equity of 10.65% and a net margin of 24.28%. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.36 earnings per share. Equities analysts expect that First Financial Bancorp. will post $1.52 EPS for the current year.

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The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, October 2nd. Investors of record on Friday, September 1st were issued a $0.17 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, August 30th. This represents a $0.68 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.60%. First Financial Bancorp.’s dividend payout ratio is 45.03%.

In other First Financial Bancorp. news, insider C Douglas Lefferson sold 40,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, August 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $25.69, for a total transaction of $1,027,600.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 74,170 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,905,427.30. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Insiders have acquired a total of 801 shares of company stock valued at $20,054 over the last three months. Company insiders own 1.88% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of FFBC. Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. acquired a new position in shares of First Financial Bancorp. during the 1st quarter worth about $139,000. Bank of Montreal Can grew its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp. by 50.3% during the 1st quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 5,580 shares of the bank’s stock worth $153,000 after buying an additional 1,867 shares during the period. SG Americas Securities LLC grew its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp. by 16.6% in the 1st quarter. SG Americas Securities LLC now owns 6,492 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $178,000 after purchasing an additional 922 shares during the period. IFP Advisors Inc grew its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp. by 0.6% in the 2nd quarter. IFP Advisors Inc now owns 6,542 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $181,000 after purchasing an additional 36 shares during the period. Finally, Amalgamated Bank grew its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp. by 1.2% in the 2nd quarter. Amalgamated Bank now owns 8,406 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $233,000 after purchasing an additional 102 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 74.23% of the company’s stock.

First Financial Bancorp. Company Profile

First Financial Bancorp. (First Financial) is a regional bank holding company. First Financial is engaged in the business of commercial banking and other banking and banking-related activities through its subsidiary, First Financial Bank, National Association (the Bank). The range of banking services provided by First Financial to individuals and businesses include commercial lending, real estate lending and consumer financing.

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Analyst Recommendations for First Financial Bancorp. (NASDAQ:FFBC)

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