The First Financial Bancorp (FFBC) to Issue Dividend Increase – $0.17 Per Share

The First Financial Bancorp (FFBC) to Issue Dividend Increase – $0.17 Per Share

First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) announced a quarterly dividend on Thursday, January 19th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, March 2nd will be given a dividend of 0.17 per share on Monday, April 3rd. This represents a $0.68 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.53%. This is an increase from First Financial Bancorp’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.16.

First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) traded down 0.92% during midday trading on Thursday, hitting $26.85. 191,179 shares of the stock were exchanged. First Financial Bancorp has a 12 month low of $13.76 and a 12 month high of $29.80. The company has a market cap of $1.66 billion, a PE ratio of 19.60 and a beta of 1.18. The firm’s 50 day moving average price is $28.14 and its 200 day moving average price is $23.38.

First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, January 19th. The company reported $0.38 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.37 by $0.01. First Financial Bancorp had a net margin of 23.05% and a return on equity of 10.17%. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $0.33 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts forecast that First Financial Bancorp will post $1.42 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other First Financial Bancorp news, Director William J. Kramer sold 2,700 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, October 27th. The shares were sold at an average price of $21.60, for a total transaction of $58,320.00. Following the transaction, the director now owns 4,314 shares in the company, valued at approximately $93,182.40. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Director Peter E. Geier sold 2,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, December 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $28.05, for a total transaction of $56,100.00. Following the transaction, the director now owns 35,021 shares in the company, valued at approximately $982,339.05. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 54,359 shares of company stock worth $1,256,408 in the last 90 days. 2.19% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. BlackRock Fund Advisors raised its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 4.9% in the second quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors now owns 4,046,332 shares of the company’s stock worth $78,701,000 after buying an additional 190,106 shares during the last quarter. Vaughan Nelson Investment Management L.P. raised its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 30.9% in the second quarter. Vaughan Nelson Investment Management L.P. now owns 2,616,200 shares of the company’s stock worth $50,886,000 after buying an additional 617,425 shares during the last quarter. Allianz Asset Management AG raised its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 0.4% in the second quarter. Allianz Asset Management AG now owns 1,901,293 shares of the company’s stock worth $36,980,000 after buying an additional 6,900 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Investment Management LLC raised its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 6.0% in the second quarter. BlackRock Investment Management LLC now owns 278,292 shares of the company’s stock worth $5,413,000 after buying an additional 15,826 shares during the last quarter. Finally, US Bancorp DE raised its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 0.7% in the second quarter. US Bancorp DE now owns 262,699 shares of the company’s stock worth $5,109,000 after buying an additional 1,800 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 72.55% of the company’s stock.

Several equities research analysts have recently commented on the stock. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of First Financial Bancorp from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, December 20th. Barclays PLC boosted their price target on shares of First Financial Bancorp from $22.00 to $26.00 and gave the company an “underweight” rating in a report on Tuesday, December 6th. Raymond James Financial Inc. lowered shares of First Financial Bancorp from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating in a report on Thursday, October 6th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Cos. assumed coverage on shares of First Financial Bancorp in a report on Thursday, October 6th. They issued a “neutral” rating and a $23.00 price target for the company. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have assigned a hold rating and one has given a buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $22.31.

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.

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