Business First Bancshares (BFST) Cut to Sell at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Business First Bancshares (NASDAQ:BFST) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note issued to investors on Thursday morning.

According to Zacks, “Business First Bancshares Inc. provides commercial and personal banking services to small to midsize businesses. Its services includes checking and savings accounts, certificates of deposit, individual retirement accounts, consumer loans, commercial and non-profit checking, commercial interest checking, business sweep investment, essential business checking, business value checking accounts, business loans, cash management and merchant processing and other services. The company operates primarily in Baton Rouge, Brusly, Covington, Denham Springs, Erwinville, Gonzales, Houma, Lafayette, New Orleans, Shreveport, Port Allen, Zachary and Lake Charles, Louisiana as well as Dallas, Texas. Business First Bancshares Inc. is based in Clayton, United States. “

Several other research analysts also recently commented on BFST. Raymond James downgraded Business First Bancshares from a strong-buy rating to an outperform rating in a report on Monday, January 7th. Stephens reaffirmed a buy rating and set a $29.00 target price on shares of Business First Bancshares in a report on Wednesday, January 30th.

Shares of BFST opened at $24.13 on Thursday. The stock has a market cap of $278.31 million and a price-to-earnings ratio of 16.53. Business First Bancshares has a 12 month low of $20.64 and a 12 month high of $30.00. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.41, a quick ratio of 0.98 and a current ratio of 0.98.

Business First Bancshares (NASDAQ:BFST) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, January 29th. The company reported $0.38 EPS for the quarter, hitting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.38. The firm had revenue of $19.61 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $19.28 million. Business First Bancshares had a return on equity of 8.34% and a net margin of 16.78%. On average, equities research analysts forecast that Business First Bancshares will post 1.81 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, February 28th. Shareholders of record on Friday, February 15th will be issued a dividend of $0.08 per share. This represents a $0.32 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.33%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, February 14th. Business First Bancshares’s payout ratio is presently 22.07%.

Hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Almanack Investment Partners LLC. bought a new position in shares of Business First Bancshares in the 3rd quarter worth about $697,000. Alliancebernstein L.P. raised its position in shares of Business First Bancshares by 75.7% in the 3rd quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. now owns 66,204 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,758,000 after acquiring an additional 28,530 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc raised its position in shares of Business First Bancshares by 37.7% in the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 405,016 shares of the company’s stock worth $10,753,000 after acquiring an additional 110,932 shares in the last quarter. MetLife Investment Advisors LLC bought a new position in shares of Business First Bancshares in the 3rd quarter worth about $254,000. Finally, BlackRock Inc. bought a new position in shares of Business First Bancshares in the 2nd quarter worth about $12,080,000. 49.36% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Business First Bancshares Company Profile

Business First Bancshares, Inc operates as the bank holding company for Business First Bank that provides various banking products and services. It offers various deposit products and services, including a range of checking, demand, money market, time, and savings accounts, as well as certificates of deposits, debit cards, remote deposit capture, online banking, mobile banking, e-Statements, bank-by-mail, and direct deposit services.

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