First Bancorp (NASDAQ:FBNC) Raised to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

First Bancorp (NASDAQ:FBNC) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a note issued to investors on Monday, Zacks.com reports. The brokerage currently has a $41.00 target price on the financial services provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price target indicates a potential upside of 11.41% from the company’s current price.

According to Zacks, “First Bancorp is a one-bank holding company. The principal activity of the Company is the ownership and operation of First Bank. They also own and operate two nonbank subsidiaries, Montgomery Data Services, Inc. and First Bancorp Financial Services, Inc. “

A number of other research firms also recently commented on FBNC. Gabelli raised shares of First Bancorp from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $44.00 target price for the company in a research report on Thursday, April 25th. ValuEngine downgraded shares of First Bancorp from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Tuesday, July 2nd. Finally, BidaskClub raised shares of First Bancorp from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Saturday. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, one has issued a hold rating and six have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $40.25.

Shares of FBNC traded up $0.48 on Monday, hitting $36.80. 76,723 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 91,761. The company has a market capitalization of $1.05 billion, a PE ratio of 12.23, a P/E/G ratio of 2.41 and a beta of 1.16. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.37, a quick ratio of 0.99 and a current ratio of 0.97. The business has a 50 day simple moving average of $36.00 and a 200 day simple moving average of $36.67. First Bancorp has a one year low of $30.50 and a one year high of $43.14.

First Bancorp (NASDAQ:FBNC) last posted its earnings results on Wednesday, July 24th. The financial services provider reported $0.80 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.77 by $0.03. First Bancorp had a net margin of 30.19% and a return on equity of 11.83%. The business had revenue of $70.40 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $69.62 million. On average, equities analysts expect that First Bancorp will post 3.13 earnings per share for the current year.

In other news, Director Thomas F. Phillips sold 2,250 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, May 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $35.58, for a total transaction of $80,055.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 84,212 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,996,262.96. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, Director Mary Clara Capel sold 900 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, August 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $36.25, for a total transaction of $32,625.00. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 14,012 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $507,935. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders sold 5,150 shares of company stock valued at $184,480. 2.37% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of FBNC. Nuveen Asset Management LLC bought a new stake in shares of First Bancorp during the 2nd quarter valued at $11,120,000. Vaughan Nelson Investment Management L.P. grew its position in shares of First Bancorp by 22.7% during the 1st quarter. Vaughan Nelson Investment Management L.P. now owns 1,296,300 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $45,059,000 after acquiring an additional 239,475 shares during the period. Jennison Associates LLC grew its position in shares of First Bancorp by 20.9% during the 2nd quarter. Jennison Associates LLC now owns 725,860 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $26,436,000 after acquiring an additional 125,303 shares during the period. Federated Investors Inc. PA grew its position in shares of First Bancorp by 38.7% during the 1st quarter. Federated Investors Inc. PA now owns 317,549 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $11,038,000 after acquiring an additional 88,582 shares during the period. Finally, Marshall Wace LLP lifted its stake in shares of First Bancorp by 1,440.2% during the 1st quarter. Marshall Wace LLP now owns 84,603 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $2,941,000 after buying an additional 79,110 shares in the last quarter. 65.86% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About First Bancorp

First Bancorp operates as the bank holding company for First Bank that provides banking products and services for individuals and small to medium-sized businesses primarily in North Carolina and northeastern South Carolina. It accepts deposit products, such as checking, savings, and money market accounts, as well as time deposits, including certificates of deposit and individual retirement accounts.

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