Brokerages Set Business First Bancshares Inc (NASDAQ:BFST) Target Price at $27.00

Shares of Business First Bancshares Inc (NASDAQ:BFST) have been given an average recommendation of “Hold” by the six brokerages that are presently covering the firm, MarketBeat Ratings reports. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating on the company. The average 12 month target price among analysts that have issued ratings on the stock in the last year is $27.00.

A number of research firms have recently commented on BFST. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Business First Bancshares from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, August 2nd. ValuEngine downgraded Business First Bancshares from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Thursday, August 1st. Stephens downgraded Business First Bancshares from an “overweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating and set a $27.00 price target for the company. in a research report on Tuesday, July 9th. DA Davidson restated a “neutral” rating on shares of Business First Bancshares in a research report on Monday, July 22nd. Finally, FIG Partners restated an “outperform” rating on shares of Business First Bancshares in a research report on Thursday, April 25th.

Shares of BFST opened at $23.70 on Friday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.20, a quick ratio of 0.95 and a current ratio of 0.95. The stock has a market cap of $324.02 million, a price-to-earnings ratio of 16.34 and a beta of 0.18. Business First Bancshares has a 1 year low of $20.64 and a 1 year high of $27.40. The firm’s 50 day moving average is $25.12.

Business First Bancshares (NASDAQ:BFST) last posted its earnings results on Wednesday, July 24th. The company reported $0.48 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.43 by $0.05. The firm had revenue of $24.41 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $22.12 million. Business First Bancshares had a return on equity of 8.63% and a net margin of 19.47%. As a group, equities research analysts expect that Business First Bancshares will post 1.81 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Saturday, August 31st. Investors of record on Thursday, August 15th will be given a $0.10 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, August 14th. This represents a $0.40 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.69%. Business First Bancshares’s dividend payout ratio is presently 27.59%.

Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA increased its stake in Business First Bancshares by 431.1% in the first quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 2,257 shares of the company’s stock worth $55,000 after purchasing an additional 1,832 shares during the period. Bessemer Group Inc. purchased a new stake in Business First Bancshares in the second quarter worth $61,000. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. NY increased its stake in shares of Business First Bancshares by 192.6% during the fourth quarter. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. NY now owns 3,467 shares of the company’s stock valued at $84,000 after buying an additional 2,282 shares during the period. Bank of America Corp DE increased its stake in shares of Business First Bancshares by 81.5% during the fourth quarter. Bank of America Corp DE now owns 7,299 shares of the company’s stock valued at $177,000 after buying an additional 3,278 shares during the period. Finally, New York State Common Retirement Fund increased its stake in shares of Business First Bancshares by 14.2% during the fourth quarter. New York State Common Retirement Fund now owns 12,100 shares of the company’s stock valued at $293,000 after buying an additional 1,500 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 43.18% of the company’s stock.

About Business First Bancshares

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 deposit; and remote deposit capture and direct deposit services.

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