BidaskClub cut shares of Southern First Bancshares (NASDAQ:SFST) from a sell rating to a strong sell rating in a research note published on Friday morning.

A number of other equities research analysts also recently issued reports on the company. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Southern First Bancshares from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $41.00 price objective on the stock in a research report on Thursday, November 22nd. ValuEngine downgraded Southern First Bancshares from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report on Wednesday, November 7th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, one has issued a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $41.00.

SFST stock traded down $0.30 during midday trading on Friday, reaching $34.70. 8,676 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 7,983. Southern First Bancshares has a 52-week low of $34.50 and a 52-week high of $48.75. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.49, a current ratio of 1.07 and a quick ratio of 1.07. The company has a market cap of $260.76 million, a PE ratio of 19.72 and a beta of 0.64.

Southern First Bancshares (NASDAQ:SFST) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, November 1st. The bank reported $0.75 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.68 by $0.07. Southern First Bancshares had a return on equity of 11.76% and a net margin of 22.71%. The business had revenue of $18.03 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $17.79 million. Equities research analysts expect that Southern First Bancshares will post 2.84 EPS for the current year.

In other news, Director Leighton M. Cubbage sold 765 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, September 25th. The stock was sold at an average price of $40.10, for a total value of $30,676.50. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 86,407 shares in the company, valued at $3,464,920.70. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, Director Fred Gilmer, Jr. sold 1,430 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $36.50, for a total value of $52,195.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 47,890 shares in the company, valued at $1,747,985. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders have sold 20,195 shares of company stock worth $833,112. Company insiders own 12.85% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. MetLife Investment Advisors LLC raised its holdings in shares of Southern First Bancshares by 55.4% in the third quarter. MetLife Investment Advisors LLC now owns 5,314 shares of the bank’s stock worth $209,000 after buying an additional 1,895 shares during the period. Rhumbline Advisers raised its holdings in shares of Southern First Bancshares by 25.1% in the second quarter. Rhumbline Advisers now owns 6,876 shares of the bank’s stock worth $304,000 after buying an additional 1,379 shares during the period. Bessemer Group Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Southern First Bancshares by 810.0% in the third quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. now owns 9,100 shares of the bank’s stock worth $358,000 after buying an additional 8,100 shares during the period. Globeflex Capital L P raised its holdings in shares of Southern First Bancshares by 14.8% in the second quarter. Globeflex Capital L P now owns 9,300 shares of the bank’s stock worth $411,000 after buying an additional 1,200 shares during the period. Finally, Tower Research Capital LLC TRC raised its holdings in shares of Southern First Bancshares by 9,517.2% in the second quarter. Tower Research Capital LLC TRC now owns 9,521 shares of the bank’s stock worth $421,000 after buying an additional 9,422 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 69.46% of the company’s stock.

About Southern First Bancshares

Southern First Bancshares, Inc operates as the bank holding company for Southern First Bank that provides various banking products and services to general public in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia. It accepts various deposit products that include checking accounts, commercial checking accounts, savings accounts, and other time deposits, including daily money market accounts and certificates of deposit.

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