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3 Reasons to Add First Financial (FFBC) to Your Portfolio

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Zacks Equity Research
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With strong fundamentals and organic growth prospects, First Financial Bancorp. FFBC appears to be an attractive pick now. In addition, interest rate hikes and improving economy are anticipated to further improve profitability.

Analysts seem to be optimistic about the company’s prospects as the stock is witnessing upward estimate revisions. Over the past 60 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has risen nearly 1.4% to $2.11. Backed by these upward estimate revisions, the company carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Additionally, First Financial’s shares have rallied 11.4% over the past six months compared with 4.8% growth recorded by the industry.

Why is First Financial a Solid Pick?

Revenue growth: First Financial’s net revenues witnessed a 6.4% compounded annual growth rate over the last five years, ending 2017. The company’s projected sales growth of 53.3% and 15% for 2018 and 2019, respectively, indicate continued upward momentum in revenues.

Earnings strength: First Financial witnessed earnings growth of 8.7% in the last three to five years. Continuing the momentum, its earnings are expected to grow at the rate of 31.1% for 2018 and 9.8% for 2019.

In addition, the company’s long-term (three to five years) estimated EPS growth rate of 10.0% promises rewards for investors over the long run. Also, the company has delivered an average positive earnings surprise of 8.6% in the trailing four quarters.

Superior Return on Equity (ROE): First Financial’s ROE of 11.51% compared with the industry average of 9.30%, indicates the company’s commendable position over its peers.

Other Stocks to Consider

Other stocks in the same space worth a look are Park National Corporation PRK, Heartland Financial USA, Inc. HTLF and TCF Financial Corporation TCF. All these carry a Zacks Rank #2. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Park National Corporation is estimated to witness 27.58% rise in 2018 earnings. Over the past year, the company’s share price has been up 2.1%.

Heartland Financial is estimated to witness 28.3% rise in 2018 earnings. Moreover, over the past year, its share price has increased 8.8%.

TCF Financial is likely to record 41.7% year-over-year increase in 2018 earnings. Further, its share price has risen 37.8%, over the past year.

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First Financial Bancorp. (FFBC) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Heartland Financial USA, Inc. (HTLF) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Park National Corporation (PRK) : Free Stock Analysis Report
TCF Financial Corporation (TCF) : Free Stock Analysis Report
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