Equities research analysts forecast that First Financial Bancorp. (NASDAQ:FFBC) will announce earnings per share (EPS) of $0.38 for the current fiscal quarter, Zacks Investment Research reports. Three analysts have provided estimates for First Financial Bancorp.’s earnings, with the lowest EPS estimate coming in at $0.37 and the highest estimate coming in at $0.39. First Financial Bancorp. posted earnings of $0.37 per share in the same quarter last year, which indicates a positive year-over-year growth rate of 2.7%. The firm is expected to issue its next earnings results on Thursday, October 19th.

On average, analysts expect that First Financial Bancorp. will report full-year earnings of $1.54 per share for the current year, with EPS estimates ranging from $1.52 to $1.55. For the next financial year, analysts anticipate that the company will post earnings of $1.81 per share, with EPS estimates ranging from $1.77 to $1.88. Zacks Investment Research’s earnings per share calculations are an average based on a survey of research firms that that provide coverage for First Financial Bancorp..

First Financial Bancorp. (NASDAQ:FFBC) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, July 25th. The bank reported $0.37 EPS for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.38 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $85.97 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $89.52 million. First Financial Bancorp. had a return on equity of 10.65% and a net margin of 24.28%. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $0.36 earnings per share.

A number of research firms have weighed in on FFBC. BidaskClub cut First Financial Bancorp. from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research note on Tuesday, August 22nd. ValuEngine cut First Financial Bancorp. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday. Zacks Investment Research upgraded First Financial Bancorp. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $30.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Tuesday, May 16th. Sandler O’Neill upgraded First Financial Bancorp. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and raised their price target for the company from $28.00 to $29.00 in a research note on Friday, July 28th. Finally, Stephens upgraded First Financial Bancorp. from an “equal weight” rating to an “overweight” rating and set a $31.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, July 26th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have given a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $28.63.

In other news, insider C Douglas Lefferson sold 40,000 shares of First Financial Bancorp. stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, August 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $25.69, for a total transaction of $1,027,600.00. Following the sale, the insider now owns 74,170 shares in the company, valued at $1,905,427.30. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. 1.88% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. 1st Global Advisors Inc. increased its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp. by 0.5% during the second quarter. 1st Global Advisors Inc. now owns 9,846 shares of the bank’s stock worth $273,000 after purchasing an additional 53 shares in the last quarter. Piedmont Investment Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in shares of First Financial Bancorp. during the second quarter worth about $372,000. Dean Capital Management acquired a new stake in shares of First Financial Bancorp. during the second quarter worth about $4,020,000. Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. increased its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp. by 6.9% during the second quarter. Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. now owns 5,410 shares of the bank’s stock worth $150,000 after purchasing an additional 349 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Susquehanna International Group LLP acquired a new stake in shares of First Financial Bancorp. during the second quarter worth about $1,452,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 74.23% of the company’s stock.

First Financial Bancorp. (NASDAQ FFBC) traded up 0.42% on Wednesday, hitting $24.05. The stock had a trading volume of 165,563 shares. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $25.50 and its 200-day moving average is $26.80. The company has a market cap of $1.49 billion, a P/E ratio of 15.93 and a beta of 1.19. First Financial Bancorp. has a 52-week low of $20.55 and a 52-week high of $29.80.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 2nd. Stockholders of record on Friday, September 1st will be given a dividend of $0.17 per share. This represents a $0.68 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.83%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, August 30th. First Financial Bancorp.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 45.03%.

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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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Earnings History and Estimates for First Financial Bancorp. (NASDAQ:FFBC)

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