Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of First Bancorp (NASDAQ:FBNC) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report released on Monday, Zacks.com reports. The brokerage currently has $41.00 price target 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. “

FBNC has been the topic of a number of other reports. ValuEngine downgraded shares of First Bancorp from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note on Tuesday, July 2nd. Gabelli upgraded shares of First Bancorp from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $44.00 target price on the stock in a research note on Thursday, April 25th. Finally, BidaskClub upgraded shares of First Bancorp from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Saturday, August 17th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have assigned a hold rating and five have given a buy rating to the stock. First Bancorp has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $40.25.

First Bancorp stock opened at $35.82 on Monday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.37, a current ratio of 0.97 and a quick ratio of 0.96. First Bancorp has a 1-year low of $30.50 and a 1-year high of $43.13. The firm has a market capitalization of $1.09 billion, a P/E ratio of 11.90, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.50 and a beta of 1.16. The company’s 50-day moving average is $35.97 and its 200 day moving average is $36.66.

First Bancorp (NASDAQ:FBNC) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, July 24th. The financial services provider reported $0.80 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.77 by $0.03. First Bancorp had a net margin of 30.19% and a return on equity of 11.83%. The company had revenue of $70.40 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $69.62 million. Research analysts anticipate that First Bancorp will post 3.13 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, July 25th. Shareholders of record on Sunday, June 30th were paid a $0.12 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, June 27th. This represents a $0.48 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.34%. First Bancorp’s dividend payout ratio is currently 15.95%.

In other First Bancorp news, Director Mary Clara Capel sold 1,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, May 31st. The shares were sold at an average price of $35.50, for a total value of $35,500.00. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 15,009 shares in the company, valued at approximately $532,819.50. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, Director Thomas F. Phillips sold 2,250 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, May 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $35.58, for a total transaction of $80,055.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 84,212 shares in the company, valued at $2,996,262.96. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 5,150 shares of company stock worth $184,480 over the last 90 days. Insiders own 2.37% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Advisory Services Network LLC bought a new position in shares of First Bancorp during the second quarter valued at approximately $77,000. Meeder Asset Management Inc. boosted its stake in shares of First Bancorp by 22.7% during the second quarter. Meeder Asset Management Inc. now owns 4,488 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $163,000 after purchasing an additional 830 shares in the last quarter. Legal & General Group Plc boosted its stake in shares of First Bancorp by 23.9% during the fourth quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 5,705 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $186,000 after purchasing an additional 1,102 shares in the last quarter. Campbell & CO Investment Adviser LLC bought a new position in shares of First Bancorp during the second quarter valued at approximately $200,000. Finally, Cubist Systematic Strategies LLC bought a new position in shares of First Bancorp during the second quarter valued at approximately $200,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 65.86% of the company’s stock.

First Bancorp Company Profile

First Bancorp operates as the bank holding company for First Bank that provides banking products and services for individuals and small to medium-sized businesses primarily in North Carolina and northeastern South Carolina. It accepts deposit products, such as checking, savings, and money market accounts, as well as time deposits, including certificates of deposit and individual retirement accounts.

Further Reading: What are the benefits of momentum investing?

Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on First Bancorp (FBNC)

For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com

Analyst Recommendations for First Bancorp (NASDAQ:FBNC)

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