Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of First Financial Bank (NASDAQ:FFBC) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report released on Tuesday. The firm currently has $35.00 price objective on the bank’s stock.

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. “

Several other equities research analysts also recently issued reports on FFBC. Barclays increased their price objective on shares of First Financial Bank from $27.00 to $30.00 and gave the stock an underweight rating in a research report on Tuesday, January 2nd. Hilliard Lyons raised shares of First Financial Bank from a neutral rating to a buy rating and set a $33.00 price objective for the company in a research report on Monday, January 22nd. BidaskClub downgraded shares of First Financial Bank from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report on Tuesday, January 30th. FIG Partners raised shares of First Financial Bank from a market perform rating to an outperform rating and set a $31.00 price objective for the company in a research report on Friday, February 9th. Finally, ValuEngine raised shares of First Financial Bank from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report on Thursday, March 29th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $31.50.

Shares of NASDAQ FFBC opened at $31.35 on Tuesday. First Financial Bank has a fifty-two week low of $22.80 and a fifty-two week high of $31.85. The company has a market capitalization of $1,968.47, a P/E ratio of 19.47, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.45 and a beta of 1.10. The company has a current ratio of 0.91, a quick ratio of 0.91 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.82.

First Financial Bank (NASDAQ:FFBC) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, April 19th. The bank reported $0.52 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.47 by $0.05. First Financial Bank had a net margin of 26.91% and a return on equity of 12.18%. The company had revenue of $92.75 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $93.03 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned ($0.17) earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up 7.5% compared to the same quarter last year. research analysts predict that First Financial Bank will post 2.16 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, June 15th. Investors of record on Friday, June 1st will be given a $0.19 dividend. This represents a $0.76 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.42%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, May 31st. First Financial Bank’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 47.20%.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. SG Americas Securities LLC bought a new position in shares of First Financial Bank in the 3rd quarter valued at about $125,000. Trustcore Financial Services LLC bought a new position in shares of First Financial Bank in the 4th quarter valued at about $146,000. Xact Kapitalforvaltning AB bought a new position in shares of First Financial Bank in the 4th quarter valued at about $237,000. Bedel Financial Consulting Inc. bought a new position in shares of First Financial Bank in the 4th quarter valued at about $249,000. Finally, Cubist Systematic Strategies LLC bought a new position in shares of First Financial Bank in the 3rd quarter valued at about $269,000. 79.10% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About First Financial Bank

First Financial Bancorp. operates as the bank holding company for First Financial Bank that provides commercial banking and other banking, and banking-related services to individuals and businesses in Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky. 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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Analyst Recommendations for First Financial Bank (NASDAQ:FFBC)

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