First BanCorp. (NYSE:FBP) Sees Large Decrease in Short Interest

First BanCorp. (NYSE:FBPGet Rating) was the recipient of a large decline in short interest in the month of March. As of March 31st, there was short interest totalling 3,930,000 shares, a decline of 23.2% from the March 15th total of 5,120,000 shares. Based on an average daily volume of 2,100,000 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 1.9 days. Currently, 2.0% of the shares of the company are sold short.

NYSE:FBP traded down $0.04 during trading hours on Monday, reaching $13.02. 32,528 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 2,037,356. The company has a current ratio of 0.73, a quick ratio of 0.73 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.18. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $13.51 and its 200-day moving average is $13.93. The firm has a market cap of $2.58 billion, a PE ratio of 9.89, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.01 and a beta of 1.20. First BanCorp. has a twelve month low of $10.88 and a twelve month high of $16.62.

First BanCorp. (NYSE:FBPGet Rating) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, January 26th. The bank reported $0.36 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.33 by $0.03. First BanCorp. had a net margin of 30.61% and a return on equity of 13.87%. The business had revenue of $214.52 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $213.70 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $0.27 earnings per share. As a group, research analysts anticipate that First BanCorp. will post 1.41 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, March 11th. Stockholders of record on Friday, February 25th were issued a dividend of $0.10 per share. This represents a $0.40 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.07%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, February 24th. First BanCorp.’s payout ratio is 30.30%.

A number of research firms have weighed in on FBP. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of First BanCorp. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $14.00 price objective for the company in a research report on Monday, April 11th. StockNews.com began coverage on shares of First BanCorp. in a research report on Thursday, March 31st. They set a “buy” rating for the company. Finally, Hovde Group began coverage on shares of First BanCorp. in a research report on Monday, December 20th. They set an “outperform” rating and a $17.00 price objective for the company.

In related news, EVP Nayda Rivera sold 20,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, February 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $15.15, for a total value of $303,000.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Insiders own 2.30% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. American Century Companies Inc. grew its holdings in shares of First BanCorp. by 52.3% during the fourth quarter. American Century Companies Inc. now owns 6,097,589 shares of the bank’s stock worth $84,025,000 after buying an additional 2,093,699 shares in the last quarter. Arrowstreet Capital Limited Partnership grew its holdings in shares of First BanCorp. by 27.7% during the third quarter. Arrowstreet Capital Limited Partnership now owns 4,446,119 shares of the bank’s stock worth $58,466,000 after buying an additional 963,095 shares in the last quarter. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. grew its holdings in shares of First BanCorp. by 90.3% during the third quarter. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. now owns 3,777,148 shares of the bank’s stock worth $49,669,000 after buying an additional 1,792,001 shares in the last quarter. Man Group plc grew its holdings in shares of First BanCorp. by 14,806.0% in the third quarter. Man Group plc now owns 2,161,228 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $28,420,000 after purchasing an additional 2,146,729 shares during the period. Finally, Norges Bank purchased a new stake in shares of First BanCorp. in the fourth quarter valued at about $26,896,000. 92.48% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

First BanCorp. Company Profile (Get Rating)

First BanCorp. operates as the bank holding company for FirstBank Puerto Rico that provides a range of financial services to retail, commercial, and institutional clients. The company operates in six segments: Commercial and Corporate Banking, Mortgage Banking, Consumer (Retail) Banking, Treasury and Investments, United States Operations, and Virgin Islands Operations.

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