Shares of First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) hit 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 traded. The stock had previously closed at $21.31.

FFBC has been the subject of a number of research reports. Zacks Investment Research cut First Financial Bancorp from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Friday, April 15th. Royal Bank Of Canada lifted their price objective on First Financial Bancorp from $18.00 to $20.00 and gave the company a “sector perform” rating in a research report on Monday, April 4th. Barclays PLC lifted their price objective on First Financial Bancorp from $19.00 to $20.00 and gave the company an “underweight” rating in a research report on Monday, July 25th. Jefferies Group reissued a “hold” rating and set a $21.00 price objective on shares of First Financial Bancorp in a research report on Thursday, July 7th. Finally, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods cut First Financial Bancorp from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating in a research report on Monday, April 25th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating and eight have given a hold rating to the stock. First Financial Bancorp presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $20.19.

The firm’s 50-day moving average is $19.78 and its 200-day moving average is $18.45. 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 Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.34 by $0.02. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $0.31 earnings per share. Equities research analysts anticipate that First Financial Bancorp will post $1.41 EPS for the current year.

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

In related news, CEO Claude E. Davis sold 8,750 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, May 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $19.74, for a total value of $172,725.00. Following the completion of 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 sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, EVP Richard S. Barbercheck sold 1,500 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, May 16th. The stock was 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 directly owns 22,300 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $423,031. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

A number of institutional investors recently made changes to their positions in the company. 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 worth $1,854,000 after buying an additional 4,435 shares during the last quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System raised its position in shares of 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. 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 worth $2,066,000 after buying an additional 1,870 shares during the last quarter. 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 worth $2,833,000 after buying an additional 6,863 shares during the last quarter. Finally, 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 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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