BidaskClub downgraded shares of First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report published on Thursday, September 20th.

Several other research firms also recently issued reports on FFBC. Zacks Investment Research upgraded First Financial Bancorp from a sell rating to a buy rating and set a $35.00 price objective on the stock in a report on Tuesday, July 24th. DA Davidson upgraded First Financial Bancorp from a neutral rating to a buy rating in a report on Thursday, July 26th. Barclays cut their price objective on First Financial Bancorp from $32.00 to $31.00 and set a $31.40 rating on the stock in a report on Monday, July 23rd. Sandler O’Neill reissued a buy rating and set a $35.00 target price on shares of First Financial Bancorp in a research note on Friday, July 20th. Finally, Stephens reissued a buy rating and set a $35.00 target price on shares of First Financial Bancorp in a research note on Monday, July 23rd. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. First Financial Bancorp currently has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $32.13.

Shares of NASDAQ:FFBC traded down $0.77 during trading on Thursday, reaching $27.33. The stock had a trading volume of 536,472 shares, compared to its average volume of 421,970. First Financial Bancorp has a 1-year low of $25.00 and a 1-year high of $33.70. The firm has a market capitalization of $2.91 billion, a PE ratio of 16.98, a P/E/G ratio of 1.32 and a beta of 1.05. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.78, a current ratio of 0.93 and a quick ratio of 0.92.

First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 19th. The bank reported $0.57 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.52 by $0.05. First Financial Bancorp had a return on equity of 12.13% and a net margin of 25.41%. The firm had revenue of $152.20 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $147.77 million. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $0.37 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up 77.0% compared to the same quarter last year. As a group, analysts expect that First Financial Bancorp will post 2.25 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, September 17th. Stockholders of record on Monday, September 3rd were given a dividend of $0.20 per share. This is a boost from First Financial Bancorp’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.19. This represents a $0.80 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.93%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, August 30th. First Financial Bancorp’s dividend payout ratio is currently 49.69%.

In other news, COO Anthony M. Stollings sold 15,847 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, August 17th. The stock was sold at an average price of $31.59, for a total value of $500,606.73. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, Director Vince Berta bought 1,500 shares of First Financial Bancorp stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, July 31st. The stock was purchased at an average cost of $29.95 per share, with a total value of $44,925.00. Following the completion of the acquisition, the director now directly owns 6,527 shares in the company, valued at approximately $195,483.65. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders have bought 2,143 shares of company stock valued at $64,236. Insiders own 3.36% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. First Financial Bank Trust Division lifted its holdings in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 16.3% in the 3rd quarter. First Financial Bank Trust Division now owns 719,765 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $21,377,000 after purchasing an additional 100,660 shares during the last quarter. United Services Automobile Association raised its stake in First Financial Bancorp by 15.6% during the 2nd quarter. United Services Automobile Association now owns 41,596 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $1,275,000 after acquiring an additional 5,627 shares during the last quarter. Northern Trust Corp raised its stake in First Financial Bancorp by 26.0% during the 2nd quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 2,353,000 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $72,120,000 after acquiring an additional 484,975 shares during the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp raised its stake in First Financial Bancorp by 17.1% during the 2nd quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 1,395,785 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $42,782,000 after acquiring an additional 204,262 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Advisors Asset Management Inc. purchased a new stake in First Financial Bancorp during the 2nd quarter valued at approximately $1,113,000. 73.84% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About First Financial Bancorp

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.

See Also: Diversification Important in Investing

Analyst Recommendations for First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC)

Receive News & Ratings for First Financial Bancorp Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for First Financial Bancorp and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.