Brokerages forecast that First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) will report $0.46 earnings per share (EPS) for the current quarter, according to Zacks Investment Research. Three analysts have issued estimates for First Financial Bancorp’s earnings, with the lowest EPS estimate coming in at $0.45 and the highest estimate coming in at $0.48. First Financial Bancorp reported earnings of $0.39 per share in the same quarter last year, which indicates a positive year-over-year growth rate of 17.9%. The business is expected to issue its next earnings report on Thursday, April 19th.

On average, analysts expect that First Financial Bancorp will report full year earnings of $2.08 per share for the current fiscal year, with EPS estimates ranging from $1.92 to $2.16. For the next year, analysts expect that the company will post earnings of $2.31 per share, with EPS estimates ranging from $2.20 to $2.45. Zacks Investment Research’s earnings per share calculations are a mean average based on a survey of sell-side research analysts that that provide coverage for First Financial Bancorp.

First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, January 18th. The bank reported $0.45 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.40 by $0.05. First Financial Bancorp had a return on equity of 11.51% and a net margin of 26.11%. The company had revenue of $94.00 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $90.05 million. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $0.38 EPS.

FFBC has been the topic of several recent research reports. Royal Bank of Canada reissued a “hold” rating and set a $28.00 price objective on shares of First Financial Bancorp in a report on Friday, October 20th. Barclays lifted their price objective on First Financial Bancorp from $25.00 to $27.00 and gave the stock an “underweight” rating in a report on Monday, October 23rd. Zacks Investment Research raised First Financial Bancorp from a “hold” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $32.00 price objective on the stock in a report on Tuesday, October 24th. BidaskClub lowered First Financial Bancorp from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Saturday, December 16th. Finally, Hilliard Lyons raised First Financial Bancorp from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $33.00 price objective on the stock in a report on Monday, January 22nd. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating, five have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. The stock has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $29.90.

Several institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of FFBC. Truepoint Inc. bought a new position in shares of First Financial Bancorp during the 3rd quarter worth approximately $309,000. Macquarie Group Ltd. raised its position in First Financial Bancorp by 8.9% in the 3rd quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 2,770,582 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $72,451,000 after purchasing an additional 226,144 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. raised its position in First Financial Bancorp by 2.8% in the 4th quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 8,036,293 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $211,755,000 after purchasing an additional 219,964 shares during the last quarter. Maltese Capital Management LLC raised its position in First Financial Bancorp by 300.1% in the 4th quarter. Maltese Capital Management LLC now owns 280,073 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $7,380,000 after purchasing an additional 210,073 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Victory Capital Management Inc. raised its position in First Financial Bancorp by 12.5% in the 3rd quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 1,499,861 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $39,221,000 after purchasing an additional 166,640 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 77.72% of the company’s stock.

Shares of First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) traded down $0.05 during trading hours on Monday, hitting $27.75. The stock had a trading volume of 317,786 shares, compared to its average volume of 402,262. First Financial Bancorp has a one year low of $22.80 and a one year high of $29.50. The firm has a market cap of $1,725.27, a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.34, a PEG ratio of 1.34 and a beta of 1.19. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.93, a current ratio of 0.92 and a quick ratio of 0.91.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, March 15th. Investors of record on Thursday, March 1st will be given a dividend of $0.19 per share. This represents a $0.76 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.74%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, February 28th. This is an increase from First Financial Bancorp’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.17. First Financial Bancorp’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 42.50%.

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First Financial Bancorp Company Profile

First Financial Bancorp. (First Financial) is a regional bank holding company. First Financial is engaged in the business of commercial banking and other banking and banking-related activities through its subsidiary, First Financial Bank, National Association (the Bank). The range of banking services provided by First Financial to individuals and businesses include commercial lending, real estate lending and consumer financing.

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