Zacks Investment Research cut shares of First Financial Bancorp. (NASDAQ:FFBC) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday morning.

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. “

Several other research firms also recently commented on FFBC. Royal Bank Of Canada restated a hold rating and issued a $29.00 price target on shares of First Financial Bancorp. in a research note on Friday, July 7th. BidaskClub upgraded shares of First Financial Bancorp. from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Wednesday, June 14th. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods restated a hold rating and issued a $27.00 price target on shares of First Financial Bancorp. in a research note on Monday, April 10th. DA Davidson assumed coverage on shares of First Financial Bancorp. in a research note on Thursday, March 23rd. They issued a buy rating and a $30.00 price target for the company. Finally, ValuEngine upgraded shares of First Financial Bancorp. from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Wednesday, May 31st. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $27.50.

First Financial Bancorp. (FFBC) traded up 0.18% during mid-day trading on Wednesday, hitting $27.75. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 132,760 shares. First Financial Bancorp. has a 12-month low of $18.65 and a 12-month high of $29.80. The company has a market cap of $1.72 billion, a P/E ratio of 18.50 and a beta of 1.20. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $26.46 and its 200-day moving average is $27.44.

First Financial Bancorp. (NASDAQ:FFBC) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, April 20th. The bank reported $0.39 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.35 by $0.04. First Financial Bancorp. had a net margin of 24.42% and a return on equity of 10.79%. The firm had revenue of $86.30 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $86.84 million. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $0.32 EPS. Analysts predict that First Financial Bancorp. will post $1.56 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, July 3rd. Shareholders of record on Friday, June 2nd were paid a $0.17 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, May 31st. This represents a $0.68 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.45%. First Financial Bancorp.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 45.33%.

In other First Financial Bancorp. news, insider Paul C. Silva sold 1,713 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, May 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $27.66, for a total value of $47,381.58. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 2,051 shares in the company, valued at $56,730.66. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Insiders own 1.88% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. increased its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp. by 2.8% in the first quarter. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. now owns 4,439 shares of the bank’s stock worth $122,000 after buying an additional 122 shares during the last quarter. Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. purchased a new position in shares of First Financial Bancorp. during the first quarter worth approximately $139,000. Bank of Montreal Can increased its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp. by 50.3% in the first 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 last quarter. SG Americas Securities LLC increased its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp. by 16.6% in the first quarter. SG Americas Securities LLC now owns 6,492 shares of the bank’s stock worth $178,000 after buying an additional 922 shares during the last quarter. Finally, IFP Advisors Inc increased its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp. by 0.5% in the first quarter. IFP Advisors Inc now owns 6,506 shares of the bank’s stock worth $179,000 after buying an additional 31 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 74.49% 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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