First Financial Bancorph (FFBC) Downgraded From Buy to Hold

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- First Financial Bancorp  (FFBC) has been downgraded by TheStreet Ratings from Buy to Hold with a ratings score of C+.  TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate FIRST FINL BANCORP INC/OH (FFBC) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed - some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, increase in net income and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow and relatively poor performance when compared with the S&P 500 during the past year."

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Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 12.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 1.5%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Commercial Banks industry average. The net income increased by 0.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $15.83 million to $15.95 million.
  • The gross profit margin for FIRST FINL BANCORP INC/OH is currently very high, coming in at 94.62%. Regardless of FFBC's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, FFBC's net profit margin of 21.25% compares favorably to the industry average.
  • In its most recent trading session, FFBC has closed at a price level that was not very different from its closing price of one year earlier. This is probably due to its weak earnings growth as well as other mixed factors. Looking ahead, the stock's rise over the last year has already helped drive it to a level which is relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry, implying reduced upside potential.
  • The company's current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization. When compared to other companies in the Commercial Banks industry and the overall market, FIRST FINL BANCORP INC/OH's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: FFBC Ratings Report

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