Wall Street analysts expect First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) to announce earnings per share of $0.46 for the current quarter, Zacks Investment Research reports. Three analysts have made estimates for First Financial Bancorp’s earnings. The highest EPS estimate is $0.48 and the lowest is $0.45. First Financial Bancorp posted earnings per share of $0.39 during the same quarter last year, which would indicate a positive year-over-year growth rate of 17.9%. The business is scheduled to report its next quarterly earnings report on Thursday, April 19th.

On average, analysts expect that First Financial Bancorp will report full-year earnings of $2.08 per share for the current year, with EPS estimates ranging from $1.92 to $2.16. For the next financial year, analysts anticipate that the company will report earnings of $2.28 per share, with EPS estimates ranging from $2.20 to $2.35. Zacks Investment Research’s EPS calculations are a mean average based on a survey of analysts that that provide coverage for First Financial Bancorp.

First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, January 18th. The bank reported $0.45 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.40 by $0.05. First Financial Bancorp had a net margin of 26.11% and a return on equity of 11.51%. The company had revenue of $94.00 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $90.05 million. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $0.38 earnings per share.

Several research firms recently commented on FFBC. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of First Financial Bancorp from a “hold” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $32.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Tuesday, October 24th. BidaskClub downgraded shares of First Financial Bancorp from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Saturday, December 16th. Hilliard Lyons upgraded shares of First Financial Bancorp from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $33.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Monday, January 22nd. Piper Jaffray Companies set a $28.00 price target on shares of First Financial Bancorp and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, October 6th. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada restated a “hold” rating and issued a $28.00 price target on shares of First Financial Bancorp in a research note on Friday, October 20th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating, four have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $29.78.

First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) opened at $28.40 on Friday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.93, a current ratio of 0.92 and a quick ratio of 0.91. First Financial Bancorp has a one year low of $22.80 and a one year high of $29.50. The company has a market cap of $1,762.51, a PE ratio of 17.21, a P/E/G ratio of 1.37 and a beta of 1.17.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, March 15th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, March 1st will be paid a dividend of $0.19 per share. This represents a $0.76 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.68%. This is an increase from First Financial Bancorp’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.17. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, February 28th. First Financial Bancorp’s dividend payout ratio is presently 42.50%.

Institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the business. SG Americas Securities LLC acquired a new stake in First Financial Bancorp during the third quarter worth about $125,000. Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. grew its stake in First Financial Bancorp by 6.9% during the second quarter. Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. now owns 5,410 shares of the bank’s stock worth $150,000 after buying an additional 349 shares in the last quarter. FDx Advisors Inc. acquired a new stake in First Financial Bancorp during the third quarter worth about $205,000. Amalgamated Bank grew its stake in First Financial Bancorp by 1.2% during the second quarter. Amalgamated Bank now owns 8,406 shares of the bank’s stock worth $233,000 after buying an additional 102 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Crossmark Global Holdings Inc. acquired a new stake in First Financial Bancorp during the third quarter worth about $250,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 77.81% of the company’s stock.

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About First Financial Bancorp

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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