First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) reached a new 52-week high during trading on Friday . The stock traded as high as $21.49 and last traded at $21.32, with a volume of 50,590 shares changing hands. The stock had previously closed at $21.31.

Several equities research analysts have recently commented on the stock. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of First Financial Bancorp from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $24.00 price target for the company in a report on Monday. Hilliard Lyons lowered shares of First Financial Bancorp from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a report on Monday. Barclays PLC boosted their price target on shares of First Financial Bancorp from $19.00 to $20.00 and gave the company an “underweight” rating in a report on Monday. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods boosted their price target on shares of First Financial Bancorp from $19.00 to $21.00 and gave the company a “market perform” rating in a report on Monday. Finally, Jefferies Group restated a “hold” rating and issued a $21.00 price target on shares of First Financial Bancorp in a report on Thursday, July 7th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating and eight have assigned a hold rating to the company’s stock. First Financial Bancorp has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $20.19.

The firm has a 50 day moving average of $19.74 and a 200-day moving average of $18.41. The company has a market cap of $1.32 billion and a P/E ratio of 16.39.

First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, July 21st. The company reported $0.36 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.34 by $0.02. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business posted $0.31 EPS. On average, analysts expect that First Financial Bancorp will post $1.42 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 3rd. Shareholders of record on Friday, September 2nd will be paid a dividend of $0.16 per share. This represents a $0.64 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.00%.

In other First Financial Bancorp news, EVP Richard S. Barbercheck sold 1,500 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, May 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $18.97, for a total transaction of $28,455.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 22,300 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $423,031. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, CEO Claude E. Davis sold 8,750 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, May 25th. The stock was sold at an average price of $19.74, for a total transaction of $172,725.00. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 295,893 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $5,840,927.82. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

A number of hedge funds and institutional investors recently made changes to their positions in the company. US Bancorp DE raised its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 4.1% in the fourth quarter. US Bancorp DE now owns 261,427 shares of the company’s stock valued at $4,724,000 after buying an additional 10,375 shares during the period. Principal Financial Group Inc. raised its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 4.4% in the fourth quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 420,368 shares of the company’s stock valued at $7,596,000 after buying an additional 17,531 shares during the period. California State Teachers Retirement System raised its position in shares of 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 valued at $2,066,000 after buying an additional 1,870 shares during the period. Rhumbline Advisers raised its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 4.5% in the fourth quarter. Rhumbline Advisers now owns 102,606 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,854,000 after buying an additional 4,435 shares during the period. Finally, Nationwide Fund Advisors raised its position in shares of First Financial Bancorp by 4.6% in the fourth quarter. Nationwide Fund Advisors now owns 156,762 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,833,000 after buying an additional 6,863 shares during the period.

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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