Southern First Bancshares Inc. (NASDAQ:SFST) has been assigned an average broker rating score of 1.50 (Buy) from the two brokers that provide coverage for the stock, Zacks Investment Research reports. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a buy recommendation and one has given a strong buy recommendation to the company. Southern First Bancshares’ rating score has declined by 50% in the last three months as a result of a number of analysts’ upgrades and downgrades.

Brokerages have set a 12-month consensus target price of $30.75 for the company and are predicting that the company will post $0.48 earnings per share for the current quarter, according to Zacks. Zacks has also assigned Southern First Bancshares an industry rank of 105 out of 265 based on the ratings given to its competitors.

A number of research analysts recently weighed in on SFST shares. Zacks Investment Research lowered Southern First Bancshares from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, June 29th. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods lifted their target price on Southern First Bancshares from $28.00 to $30.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 27th.

Southern First Bancshares (NASDAQ:SFST) traded down 0.606% on Wednesday, reaching $28.695. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 1,937 shares. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $27.79 and its 200-day moving average price is $25.96. Southern First Bancshares has a 12-month low of $19.01 and a 12-month high of $31.11. The stock has a market cap of $182.36 million, a PE ratio of 16.031 and a beta of 0.63.

Southern First Bancshares (NASDAQ:SFST) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, July 26th. The company reported $0.49 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.45 by $0.04. Southern First Bancshares had a return on equity of 12.33% and a net margin of 20.30%. On average, equities analysts expect that Southern First Bancshares will post $1.89 EPS for the current year.

In other news, Director Fred Gilmer, Jr. sold 2,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, August 18th. The stock was sold at an average price of $27.25, for a total value of $54,500.00. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 54,751 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,491,964.75. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, President F Justin Strickland sold 1,400 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Monday, August 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $27.00, for a total value of $37,800.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the president now owns 56,158 shares in the company, valued at $1,516,266. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 14.50% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in SFST. RMB Capital Management LLC increased its position in Southern First Bancshares by 38.9% in the second quarter. RMB Capital Management LLC now owns 316,182 shares of the company’s stock worth $7,620,000 after buying an additional 88,495 shares during the period. Mendon Capital Advisors Corp increased its position in Southern First Bancshares by 88.0% in the second quarter. Mendon Capital Advisors Corp now owns 291,722 shares of the company’s stock worth $7,030,000 after buying an additional 136,570 shares during the period. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP increased its position in Southern First Bancshares by 0.3% in the second quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 192,704 shares of the company’s stock worth $4,644,000 after buying an additional 571 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its position in Southern First Bancshares by 9.2% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 182,395 shares of the company’s stock worth $4,396,000 after buying an additional 15,421 shares during the period. Finally, BlackRock Fund Advisors increased its position in Southern First Bancshares by 14,042.8% in the second quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors now owns 134,781 shares of the company’s stock worth $3,248,000 after buying an additional 133,828 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 63.19% of the company’s stock.

About Southern First Bancshares

Southern First Bancshares, Inc is a bank holding company that owns the capital stock of Southern First Bank (the Bank), a South Carolina state bank, and all of the stock of Greenville First Statutory Trust I and II (the Trusts). The Bank is a commercial bank with approximately nine retail offices located in Greenville, Columbia and Charleston, South Carolina.

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