First Financial Bancorp (FFBC) Cut to Hold at Sandler O’Neill

Sandler O’Neill lowered shares of First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report published on Thursday, MarketBeat.com reports. Sandler O’Neill currently has $30.00 target price on the bank’s stock.

Several other equities research analysts have also commented on the stock. ValuEngine lowered shares of First Financial Bancorp from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note on Friday, October 19th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of First Financial Bancorp from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $34.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Friday, September 21st. Barclays cut their price target on shares of First Financial Bancorp from $31.00 to $29.00 and set an underweight rating on the stock in a research note on Monday, October 22nd. BidaskClub upgraded shares of First Financial Bancorp from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note on Tuesday, October 30th. Finally, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods upgraded shares of First Financial Bancorp from a market perform rating to an outperform rating and cut their price target for the stock from $34.00 to $32.00 in a research note on Sunday, October 21st. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $31.75.

Shares of NASDAQ:FFBC opened at $27.92 on Thursday. First Financial Bancorp has a 12 month low of $24.05 and a 12 month high of $33.70. The company has a current ratio of 0.94, a quick ratio of 0.94 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.86. The firm has a market cap of $2.73 billion, a P/E ratio of 17.34, a P/E/G ratio of 1.25 and a beta of 1.15.

First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 18th. The bank reported $0.58 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.57 by $0.01. First Financial Bancorp had a net margin of 25.08% and a return on equity of 11.70%. The firm had revenue of $152.80 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $151.74 million. During the same period last year, the business earned $0.39 EPS. First Financial Bancorp’s revenue for the quarter was up 63.6% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities analysts expect that First Financial Bancorp will post 2.24 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, December 17th. Shareholders of record on Monday, December 3rd will be paid a $0.20 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Friday, November 30th. This represents a $0.80 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.87%. First Financial Bancorp’s dividend payout ratio is presently 49.69%.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the business. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 2.1% in the third quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 9,764,366 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $290,002,000 after acquiring an additional 197,490 shares in the last quarter. Morgan Stanley boosted its holdings in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 41.4% in the third quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 348,562 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $10,353,000 after acquiring an additional 102,075 shares in the last quarter. Legal & General Group Plc boosted its holdings in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 7.4% in the third quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 232,457 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $6,885,000 after acquiring an additional 16,076 shares in the last quarter. Nordea Investment Management AB boosted its holdings in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 49.2% in the third quarter. Nordea Investment Management AB now owns 147,094 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $4,368,000 after acquiring an additional 48,480 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Teachers Advisors LLC boosted its holdings in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 1.9% in the third quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC now owns 202,687 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $6,020,000 after acquiring an additional 3,738 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 72.68% of the company’s stock.

About First Financial Bancorp

First Financial Bancorp. operates as the bank holding company for First Financial Bank that provides commercial banking and other banking, and banking-related services to individuals and businesses in Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky. The company accepts various deposit products, such as interest-bearing and noninterest-bearing accounts, time deposits, and cash management services for commercial customers.

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Analyst Recommendations for First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC)

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