Southern First Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ:SFST) was downgraded by stock analysts at ValuEngine from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a note issued to investors on Tuesday.

A number of other research analysts also recently issued reports on SFST. BidaskClub downgraded shares of Southern First Bancshares from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 19th. FIG Partners reissued an “outperform” rating and set a $42.00 price objective (up from $40.00) on shares of Southern First Bancshares in a research report on Wednesday, October 4th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Southern First Bancshares from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Friday, October 6th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, two have assigned a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $38.67.

Shares of Southern First Bancshares (SFST) opened at $39.05 on Tuesday. The company has a quick ratio of 1.03, a current ratio of 1.04 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.36. Southern First Bancshares has a 1-year low of $29.25 and a 1-year high of $41.10. The firm has a market cap of $286.54, a P/E ratio of 19.67 and a beta of 0.72.

Southern First Bancshares (NASDAQ:SFST) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The bank reported $0.55 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.53 by $0.02. Southern First Bancshares had a net margin of 21.10% and a return on equity of 11.10%. The company had revenue of $15.85 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $15.22 million. research analysts predict that Southern First Bancshares will post 2.03 earnings per share for the current year.

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In other news, President F Justin Strickland sold 1,250 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, November 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $39.00, for a total value of $48,750.00. Following the sale, the president now directly owns 62,889 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,452,671. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, CFO Michael D. Dowling sold 750 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 17th. The stock was sold at an average price of $36.00, for a total transaction of $27,000.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief financial officer now directly owns 30,507 shares in the company, valued at $1,098,252. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders have sold 7,850 shares of company stock worth $286,350. Insiders own 12.85% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in SFST. Wells Fargo & Company MN grew its position in shares of Southern First Bancshares by 22.3% in the 1st quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 8,342 shares of the bank’s stock worth $273,000 after buying an additional 1,519 shares during the period. Bank of New York Mellon Corp grew its position in shares of Southern First Bancshares by 20.0% in the 1st quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 18,639 shares of the bank’s stock worth $608,000 after buying an additional 3,112 shares during the period. American International Group Inc. boosted its stake in Southern First Bancshares by 7.3% in the 1st quarter. American International Group Inc. now owns 3,534 shares of the bank’s stock worth $115,000 after purchasing an additional 239 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its stake in Southern First Bancshares by 2.1% in the 1st quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 188,062 shares of the bank’s stock worth $6,140,000 after purchasing an additional 3,958 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Geode Capital Management LLC boosted its stake in Southern First Bancshares by 181.4% in the 1st quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 57,829 shares of the bank’s stock worth $1,888,000 after purchasing an additional 37,277 shares in the last quarter. 70.32% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Southern First Bancshares

Southern First Bancshares, Inc is a bank holding company that owns the capital stock of Southern First Bank (the Bank), a South Carolina state bank, and all of the stock of Greenville First Statutory Trust I and II (the Trusts). The Bank is a commercial bank with approximately nine retail offices located in Greenville, Columbia and Charleston, South Carolina.

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