First Financial Bancorp (Nasdaq: FFBC) will look to avoid missing estimates again when its earnings are released on Thursday, July 28. First Financial is a bank holding company that engages in the business of commercial banking and other banking and banking-related activities through its wholly owned subsidiary, First Financial Bank, National Association.

What analysts say:

  • Buy, sell, or hold?: Analysts generally think investors should hang on to First Financial Bancorp, with half rating the stock a hold. Analysts like First Financial Bancorp better than competitor WesBanco overall. One out of six analysts rates WesBanco a buy, compared with four of eight for First Financial Bancorp. Analysts are a bit more wary about it compared with three months ago.
  • Revenue forecasts: On average, analysts predict $101.5 million in revenue this quarter. That would represent a rise of 9.1% from the year-ago quarter.
  • Wall Street earnings expectations: The average analyst estimate is earnings of $0.30 per share. Estimates range from $0.28 to $0.33.

What our community says:
CAPS All-Stars are split on First Financial Bancorp, with 52.4% rating it an "outperform" and 47.6% giving it an "underperform" rating. The community is split on the stock, with 46.8% Fools granting it an "outperform" rating and 53.2% an "underperform" rating. The message boards have been quiet lately, with only 23 posts in the past 30 days. First Financial Bancorp's CAPS rating of two out of five stars is even gloomier than the community's sentiment.

Management:
First Financial Bancorp's profit has risen year over year by an average of more than threefold. A year-over-year revenue increase last quarter snaps a streak of two consecutive quarters of revenue declines. Revenue rose 12.5% in the first quarter and fell more than twofold in Q3 and 71% in Q2 of the last fiscal year.

Now let's look at how efficient management is at running the business. Traditionally, margins represent the efficiency with which companies capture portions of sales dollars. The following table shows net margins over the past four quarters. 

Quarter Q1 Q4 Q3 Q2
Net Margin 13.9% 12.2% 12% 16%
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