Southern First Bancshares (SFST) Rating Increased to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

Southern First Bancshares (NASDAQ:SFST) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Wednesday. The firm presently has a $48.00 price objective on the bank’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price target would suggest a potential upside of 14.29% from the stock’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Greenville First Bancshares, Inc. is the holding company for Greenville First Bank, N.A., a national banking association chartered under the laws of the United States. “

SFST has been the topic of several other reports. ValuEngine lowered Southern First Bancshares from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, November 14th. FIG Partners restated an “outperform” rating and issued a $42.00 target price (up from $40.00) on shares of Southern First Bancshares in a research note on Wednesday, October 4th. Finally, BidaskClub lowered Southern First Bancshares from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Saturday, August 12th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have given a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $41.00.

Shares of Southern First Bancshares (NASDAQ SFST) traded up $0.25 on Wednesday, hitting $42.00. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 6,800 shares, compared to its average volume of 15,026. The company has a market capitalization of $305.57, a price-to-earnings ratio of 20.98 and a beta of 0.74. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.36, a quick ratio of 1.03 and a current ratio of 1.04. Southern First Bancshares has a 52-week low of $31.40 and a 52-week high of $43.20.

Southern First Bancshares (NASDAQ:SFST) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The bank reported $0.55 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.53 by $0.02. The firm had revenue of $15.85 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $15.22 million. Southern First Bancshares had a return on equity of 11.10% and a net margin of 21.10%. equities analysts forecast that Southern First Bancshares will post 2.03 EPS for the current year.

In related news, CFO Michael D. Dowling sold 4,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, November 30th. The stock was sold at an average price of $42.29, for a total transaction of $169,160.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief financial officer now directly owns 28,007 shares in the company, valued at $1,184,416.03. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, President F Justin Strickland sold 1,250 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, November 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $39.00, for a total value of $48,750.00. Following the transaction, the president now owns 62,889 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,452,671. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 12.85% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Castine Capital Management LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Southern First Bancshares by 9.7% in the 3rd quarter. Castine Capital Management LLC now owns 185,329 shares of the bank’s stock worth $6,737,000 after purchasing an additional 16,377 shares in the last quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP boosted its holdings in shares of Southern First Bancshares by 2.1% in the 3rd quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 162,702 shares of the bank’s stock worth $5,914,000 after purchasing an additional 3,382 shares in the last quarter. SG Americas Securities LLC purchased a new position in shares of Southern First Bancshares in the 3rd quarter worth about $189,000. Bank of New York Mellon Corp boosted its holdings in shares of Southern First Bancshares by 12.1% in the 3rd quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 24,888 shares of the bank’s stock worth $905,000 after purchasing an additional 2,685 shares in the last quarter. Finally, The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company boosted its holdings in shares of Southern First Bancshares by 18.1% in the 2nd quarter. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company now owns 468,270 shares of the bank’s stock worth $17,349,000 after purchasing an additional 71,848 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 70.12% of the company’s stock.

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About Southern First Bancshares

Southern First Bancshares, Inc is a bank holding company that owns the capital stock of Southern First Bank (the Bank), a South Carolina state bank, and all of the stock of Greenville First Statutory Trust I and II (the Trusts). The Bank is a commercial bank with approximately nine retail offices located in Greenville, Columbia and Charleston, South Carolina.

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