Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of First Bancorp (NASDAQ:FBNC) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report report published on Thursday morning. The firm currently has $39.00 price objective on the financial services provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “First Bancorp is a one-bank holding company. The principal activity of the Company is the ownership and operation of First Bank. They also own and operate two nonbank subsidiaries, Montgomery Data Services, Inc. and First Bancorp Financial Services, Inc. “

A number of other research analysts have also recently issued reports on FBNC. Brean Capital initiated coverage on First Bancorp in a report on Friday, June 9th. They set a buy rating and a $33.00 price objective for the company. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reissued a buy rating and set a $34.00 price objective on shares of First Bancorp in a report on Monday, June 26th. ValuEngine upgraded First Bancorp from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report on Friday, July 28th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies restated an overweight rating and set a $37.00 target price on shares of First Bancorp in a research report on Thursday. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating to the company. First Bancorp has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $35.75.

First Bancorp (FBNC) traded up 0.40% during mid-day trading on Thursday, reaching $35.38. 75,016 shares of the company traded hands. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $31.96 and a 200-day moving average price of $30.50. The company has a market capitalization of $873.11 million, a P/E ratio of 24.66 and a beta of 1.13. First Bancorp has a 52-week low of $19.18 and a 52-week high of $35.83.

First Bancorp (NASDAQ:FBNC) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, July 25th. The financial services provider reported $0.45 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.43 by $0.02. First Bancorp had a net margin of 17.52% and a return on equity of 7.77%. The firm had revenue of $51.79 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $49.49 million. Analysts expect that First Bancorp will post $1.86 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, October 25th. Investors of record on Friday, September 29th will be paid a $0.08 dividend. This represents a $0.32 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 0.90%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, September 28th. First Bancorp’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 22.54%.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Mendon Capital Advisors Corp grew its holdings in shares of First Bancorp by 279.9% during the 1st quarter. Mendon Capital Advisors Corp now owns 605,015 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $17,721,000 after purchasing an additional 445,765 shares in the last quarter. JCSD Capital LLC acquired a new stake in shares of First Bancorp during the 2nd quarter worth $6,174,000. Victory Capital Management Inc. grew its holdings in shares of First Bancorp by 11.8% during the 2nd quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 51,557 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $1,612,000 after purchasing an additional 5,440 shares in the last quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP grew its holdings in shares of First Bancorp by 9.6% during the 1st quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 1,165,101 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $34,126,000 after purchasing an additional 102,427 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Teachers Advisors LLC grew its holdings in shares of First Bancorp by 1.9% during the 1st quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC now owns 46,900 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $1,374,000 after purchasing an additional 876 shares in the last quarter. 66.03% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

About First Bancorp

First Bancorp is the bank holding company for First Bank (the Bank). The Company’s principal activity is the ownership and operation of First Bank. The Bank engages in a range of banking activities, including the acceptance of deposits and the making of loans. The Bank offers credit cards, debit cards, letters of credit, safe deposit box rentals and electronic funds transfer services, including wire transfers.

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