First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) hit a new 52-week high during mid-day trading on Friday . The company traded as high as $21.00 and last traded at $20.38, with a volume of 64,392 shares trading hands. The stock had previously closed at $20.27.

A number of brokerages have recently issued reports on FFBC. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods downgraded shares of First Financial Bancorp from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating in a research report on Monday, April 25th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of First Financial Bancorp from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday. Jefferies Group restated a “hold” rating and set a $21.00 target price on shares of First Financial Bancorp in a research note on Thursday, July 7th. Finally, Royal Bank Of Canada lifted their target price on shares of First Financial Bancorp from $18.00 to $20.00 and gave the company a “sector perform” rating in a research note on Monday, April 4th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $19.44.

The company has a 50 day moving average of $19.47 and a 200 day moving average of $18.18. The company has a market cap of $1.26 billion and a price-to-earnings ratio of 16.45.

First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, April 21st. The company reported $0.32 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.33 by $0.01. During the same period last year, the firm earned $0.29 EPS. On average, equities analysts forecast that First Financial Bancorp will post $1.39 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, July 1st. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, June 1st were paid a $0.16 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, May 27th. This represents a $0.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.16%.

In other news, EVP Richard S. Barbercheck sold 1,500 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, May 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $18.97, for a total value of $28,455.00. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 22,300 shares in the company, valued at $423,031. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, CEO Claude E. Davis sold 8,750 shares of the stock in a transaction on Wednesday, May 25th. The stock was sold at an average price of $19.74, for a total transaction of $172,725.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 295,893 shares in the company, valued at approximately $5,840,927.82. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

Other hedge funds have added to or reduced their stakes in the company. California State Teachers Retirement System raised its stake in First Financial Bancorp by 1.7% in the fourth quarter. California State Teachers Retirement System now owns 114,331 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,066,000 after buying an additional 1,870 shares during the last quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System raised its stake in First Financial Bancorp by 3.2% in the fourth quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 114,200 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,064,000 after buying an additional 3,500 shares during the last quarter. Rhumbline Advisers raised its stake in First Financial Bancorp by 4.5% in the fourth quarter. Rhumbline Advisers now owns 102,606 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,854,000 after buying an additional 4,435 shares during the last quarter. Nationwide Fund Advisors raised its stake in First Financial Bancorp by 4.6% in the fourth quarter. Nationwide Fund Advisors now owns 156,762 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,833,000 after buying an additional 6,863 shares during the last quarter. Finally, US Bancorp DE raised its stake in First Financial Bancorp by 4.1% in the fourth quarter. US Bancorp DE now owns 261,427 shares of the company’s stock worth $4,724,000 after buying an additional 10,375 shares during the last quarter.

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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