Zacks Investment Research Downgrades First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) to Sell

First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Thursday, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “First Financial Bancorp., is a financial holding company that engages in the business of commercial banking, and other permissible activities that are financial in nature, through seventeen wholly owned subsidiary institutions. Bancorp provides management and similar services for its subsidiary financial institutions. Bancorp must depend largely upon its seventeen subsidiaries for funds with which to pay the expenses of its operation and, to the extent applicable, any dividends on its outstanding shares of stock. “

FFBC has been the subject of several other reports. BidaskClub lowered shares of ZIX from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, June 7th. Piper Jaffray Companies restated a “buy” rating on shares of Beigene in a research report on Thursday, June 20th. Finally, Stephens restated a “hold” rating and set a $30.00 price target on shares of First Financial Bancorp in a research report on Wednesday, April 10th. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. First Financial Bancorp has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $28.50.

FFBC opened at $24.35 on Thursday. The company has a market capitalization of $2.35 billion, a PE ratio of 10.68, a PEG ratio of 1.12 and a beta of 1.24. The company has a current ratio of 0.92, a quick ratio of 0.91 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.70. First Financial Bancorp has a 52 week low of $22.07 and a 52 week high of $32.25. The company has a fifty day moving average price of $23.37.

First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) last released its earnings results on Thursday, April 25th. The bank reported $0.47 EPS for the quarter, meeting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.47. The business had revenue of $148.34 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $150.53 million. First Financial Bancorp had a return on equity of 10.60% and a net margin of 26.28%. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $0.49 earnings per share. As a group, equities research analysts predict that First Financial Bancorp will post 2.13 EPS for the current year.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the business. Raymond James & Associates increased its stake in First Financial Bancorp by 6.2% during the 4th quarter. Raymond James & Associates now owns 29,840 shares of the bank’s stock worth $708,000 after acquiring an additional 1,741 shares during the period. Citigroup Inc. increased its stake in First Financial Bancorp by 65.9% during the 4th quarter. Citigroup Inc. now owns 24,399 shares of the bank’s stock worth $579,000 after acquiring an additional 9,691 shares during the period. CIBC Asset Management Inc increased its stake in First Financial Bancorp by 54.4% during the 4th quarter. CIBC Asset Management Inc now owns 12,775 shares of the bank’s stock worth $303,000 after acquiring an additional 4,501 shares during the period. Great West Life Assurance Co. Can increased its stake in First Financial Bancorp by 6.6% during the 4th quarter. Great West Life Assurance Co. Can now owns 132,114 shares of the bank’s stock worth $2,892,000 after acquiring an additional 8,193 shares during the period. Finally, Bessemer Group Inc. increased its stake in First Financial Bancorp by 598.7% during the 4th quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. now owns 1,076 shares of the bank’s stock worth $26,000 after acquiring an additional 922 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 74.76% of the company’s stock.

First Financial Bancorp Company Profile

First Financial Bancorp. operates as the bank holding company for First Financial Bank that provides commercial banking and related services to individuals and businesses in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and Illinois. 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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