First Financial Bancorp. (NASDAQ:FFBC) Trading 4.7% Higher Following Strong Earnings

Shares of First Financial Bancorp. (NASDAQ:FFBC – Get Rating) traded up 4.7% during trading on Friday after the company announced better than expected quarterly earnings. The company traded as high as $24.48 and last traded at $24.48. 18,192 shares changed hands during trading, a decline of 93% from the average session volume of 273,516 shares. The stock had previously closed at $23.38.

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The bank reported $0.73 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.68 by $0.05. First Financial Bancorp. had a return on equity of 10.71% and a net margin of 28.09%. The firm had revenue of $245.95 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $199.77 million. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $0.58 EPS.

First Financial Bancorp. Dividend Announcement

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, March 15th. Investors of record on Wednesday, March 1st will be issued a $0.23 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, February 28th. This represents a $0.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.79%. First Financial Bancorp.’s payout ratio is currently 39.83%.

Wall Street Analyst Weigh In

FFBC has been the subject of a number of recent analyst reports. initiated coverage on shares of First Financial Bancorp. in a report on Wednesday, October 12th. They issued a “hold” rating for the company. Royal Bank of Canada boosted their price objective on shares of First Financial Bancorp. from $24.00 to $25.00 and gave the stock a “sector perform” rating in a report on Monday, October 24th.

Insider Buying and Selling at First Financial Bancorp.

In other First Financial Bancorp. news, insider Richard S. Dennen sold 20,246 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, November 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $26.20, for a total transaction of $530,445.20. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 93,310 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,444,722. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through this link. Company insiders own 2.11% of the company’s stock.

Institutional Investors Weigh In On First Financial Bancorp.

Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Bailard Inc. purchased a new stake in First Financial Bancorp. during the 2nd quarter valued at $351,000. Victory Capital Management Inc. increased its stake in shares of First Financial Bancorp. by 20.1% in the 3rd quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 721,222 shares of the bank’s stock worth $15,203,000 after purchasing an additional 120,596 shares in the last quarter. Wipfli Financial Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in shares of First Financial Bancorp. in the 3rd quarter worth $92,000. KBC Group NV purchased a new stake in shares of First Financial Bancorp. in the 2nd quarter worth $140,000. Finally, Strs Ohio increased its stake in shares of First Financial Bancorp. by 5.2% in the 2nd quarter. Strs Ohio now owns 48,400 shares of the bank’s stock worth $938,000 after purchasing an additional 2,400 shares in the last quarter. 73.35% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

First Financial Bancorp. Price Performance

The company has a current ratio of 0.86, a quick ratio of 0.86 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.67. The stock has a market capitalization of $2.30 billion, a PE ratio of 10.50 and a beta of 1.07. The firm has a 50 day moving average price of $24.68 and a 200 day moving average price of $23.46.

First Financial Bancorp. Company Profile

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First Financial Bancorp operates as a bank holding company. The firm operates through its wholly owned subsidiary, First Financial Bank, which engages in the provision of commercial banking, financial and other related activities. It operates through the following business lines: Commercial, Retail Banking, Mortgage Banking, Wealth Management, Investment Commercial Real Estate, and Commercial Finance.

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