BidaskClub downgraded shares of First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) from a sell rating to a strong sell rating in a research note released on Saturday, BidAskClub reports.

Separately, Zacks Investment Research downgraded First Financial Bancorp from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Friday, July 3rd. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating and two have issued a hold rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $20.00.

Shares of NASDAQ:FFBC opened at $12.90 on Friday. First Financial Bancorp has a 1 year low of $10.83 and a 1 year high of $26.19. The company has a market cap of $1.26 billion, a PE ratio of 7.72 and a beta of 1.19. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.58, a current ratio of 0.93 and a quick ratio of 0.93. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $14.10 and its 200 day moving average is $14.30.

First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 23rd. The bank reported $0.40 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.25 by $0.15. First Financial Bancorp had a return on equity of 7.97% and a net margin of 23.05%. The company had revenue of $154.30 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $147.50 million. Analysts expect that First Financial Bancorp will post 1.44 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, September 15th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, September 1st were issued a dividend of $0.23 per share. The ex-dividend date was Monday, August 31st. This represents a $0.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 7.13%. First Financial Bancorp’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 42.99%.

In other news, Director Vince Berta bought 3,000 shares of First Financial Bancorp stock in a transaction on Friday, August 21st. The shares were purchased at an average price of $14.05 per share, for a total transaction of $42,150.00. Following the acquisition, the director now owns 11,209 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $157,486.45. The acquisition was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. 2.00% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of FFBC. Comerica Bank boosted its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 2.8% in the 1st quarter. Comerica Bank now owns 97,259 shares of the bank’s stock worth $1,341,000 after purchasing an additional 2,683 shares in the last quarter. SG Americas Securities LLC lifted its position in First Financial Bancorp by 252.0% in the 1st quarter. SG Americas Securities LLC now owns 18,254 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $272,000 after acquiring an additional 13,068 shares in the last quarter. Aperio Group LLC lifted its position in First Financial Bancorp by 17.7% in the 1st quarter. Aperio Group LLC now owns 39,180 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $584,000 after acquiring an additional 5,881 shares in the last quarter. Fifth Third Bancorp lifted its position in First Financial Bancorp by 366.4% in the 1st quarter. Fifth Third Bancorp now owns 26,684 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $398,000 after acquiring an additional 20,963 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Rhumbline Advisers lifted its position in First Financial Bancorp by 5.4% in the 1st quarter. Rhumbline Advisers now owns 357,179 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $5,326,000 after acquiring an additional 18,173 shares in the last quarter. 73.90% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About First Financial Bancorp

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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