Macquarie Group Ltd. lifted its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp. (NASDAQ:FFBC) by 8.9% during the third quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The institutional investor owned 2,770,582 shares of the bank’s stock after purchasing an additional 226,144 shares during the period. Macquarie Group Ltd. owned 4.46% of First Financial Bancorp. worth $72,451,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Several other institutional investors and hedge funds have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. IFP Advisors Inc lifted its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp. by 0.6% during the second quarter. IFP Advisors Inc now owns 6,542 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $181,000 after purchasing an additional 36 shares in the last quarter. Alps Advisors Inc. lifted its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp. by 0.3% during the second quarter. Alps Advisors Inc. now owns 17,163 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $475,000 after purchasing an additional 45 shares in the last quarter. 1st Global Advisors Inc. lifted 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 valued at $273,000 after purchasing an additional 53 shares in the last quarter. Sei Investments Co. lifted its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp. by 0.3% during the second quarter. Sei Investments Co. now owns 27,851 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $771,000 after purchasing an additional 90 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Arizona State Retirement System raised its position in First Financial Bancorp. by 0.3% in the second quarter. Arizona State Retirement System now owns 32,371 shares of the bank’s stock worth $897,000 after acquiring an additional 100 shares during the period. 74.89% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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First Financial Bancorp. (NASDAQ:FFBC) traded up $0.10 on Friday, hitting $26.70. 153,254 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 321,792. The stock has a market capitalization of $1,657.00, a P/E ratio of 16.90, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.72 and a beta of 1.17. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.02, a current ratio of 0.93 and a quick ratio of 0.93. First Financial Bancorp. has a 52-week low of $22.80 and a 52-week high of $29.80.

First Financial Bancorp. (NASDAQ:FFBC) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, October 19th. The bank reported $0.40 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.38 by $0.02. The firm had revenue of $83.95 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $88.30 million. First Financial Bancorp. had a net margin of 26.49% and a return on equity of 11.22%. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $0.37 earnings per share. research analysts expect that First Financial Bancorp. will post 1.56 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 2nd. Stockholders of record on Friday, December 1st will be paid a $0.17 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, November 30th. This represents a $0.68 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.55%. First Financial Bancorp.’s payout ratio is 43.04%.

FFBC has been the topic of several research reports. Sandler O’Neill raised shares of First Financial Bancorp. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and lifted their price objective for the stock from $28.00 to $29.00 in a research report on Friday, July 28th. Royal Bank Of Canada reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $28.00 price objective on shares of First Financial Bancorp. in a research report on Friday, September 8th. ValuEngine lowered shares of First Financial Bancorp. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, September 1st. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of First Financial Bancorp. from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, October 10th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies set a $28.00 price objective on shares of First Financial Bancorp. and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, October 6th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating, three have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. First Financial Bancorp. currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $29.00.

About First Financial Bancorp.

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.

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for First Financial Bancorp. (NASDAQ:FFBC)

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