First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) has earned an average rating of “Hold” from the nine research firms that are currently covering the company, Marketbeat Ratings reports. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have given a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating on the company. The average twelve-month target price among analysts that have updated their coverage on the stock in the last year is $29.00.

A number of brokerages have recently issued reports on FFBC. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of General Moly from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, July 11th. Stephens restated a “hold” rating and issued a $30.00 price target on shares of First Financial Bancorp in a research report on Wednesday, April 10th. BidaskClub downgraded shares of ZIX from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, June 7th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies restated a “buy” rating on shares of Beigene in a research report on Thursday, June 20th.

Institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Raymond James & Associates lifted its holdings in First Financial Bancorp by 6.2% in the fourth quarter. Raymond James & Associates now owns 29,840 shares of the bank’s stock worth $708,000 after acquiring an additional 1,741 shares during the last quarter. Citigroup Inc. raised its holdings in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 65.9% during the fourth quarter. Citigroup Inc. now owns 24,399 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $579,000 after buying an additional 9,691 shares during the last quarter. CIBC Asset Management Inc raised its holdings in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 54.4% during the fourth quarter. CIBC Asset Management Inc now owns 12,775 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $303,000 after buying an additional 4,501 shares during the last quarter. Great West Life Assurance Co. Can raised its holdings in First Financial Bancorp by 6.6% during the fourth quarter. Great West Life Assurance Co. Can now owns 132,114 shares of the bank’s stock worth $2,892,000 after purchasing an additional 8,193 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Bessemer Group Inc. raised its holdings in First Financial Bancorp by 598.7% during the fourth quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. now owns 1,076 shares of the bank’s stock worth $26,000 after purchasing an additional 922 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 74.72% of the company’s stock.

Shares of NASDAQ FFBC traded up $0.28 during midday trading on Friday, reaching $24.17. The stock had a trading volume of 487,102 shares, compared to its average volume of 294,497. The company has a market cap of $2.36 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 10.60, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.12 and a beta of 1.24. First Financial Bancorp has a twelve month low of $22.07 and a twelve month high of $32.25. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.70, a quick ratio of 0.91 and a current ratio of 0.92. The firm has a 50 day simple moving average of $23.46.

First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 18th. The bank reported $0.58 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.57 by $0.01. The firm had revenue of $156.94 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $153.34 million. First Financial Bancorp had a net margin of 28.03% and a return on equity of 10.59%. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $0.57 EPS. On average, equities research analysts expect that First Financial Bancorp will post 2.13 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, September 16th. Investors of record on Monday, September 2nd will be given a dividend of $0.23 per share. This represents a $0.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.81%. This is an increase from First Financial Bancorp’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.22. First Financial Bancorp’s payout ratio is presently 38.60%.

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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Analyst Recommendations for First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC)

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