Short Interest in First Bancorp (NYSE:FBP) Decreases By 13.0%

First Bancorp (NYSE:FBP) was the recipient of a large drop in short interest during the month of October. As of October 31st, there was short interest totalling 2,000,000 shares, a drop of 13.0% from the September 30th total of 2,300,000 shares. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 1,190,000 shares, the short-interest ratio is currently 1.7 days. Currently, 0.9% of the company’s stock are sold short.

Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in FBP. First Trust Advisors LP grew its position in shares of First Bancorp by 69.9% during the 1st quarter. First Trust Advisors LP now owns 99,743 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $1,143,000 after acquiring an additional 41,052 shares during the period. WINTON GROUP Ltd grew its position in shares of First Bancorp by 493.9% during the 2nd quarter. WINTON GROUP Ltd now owns 73,843 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $815,000 after acquiring an additional 61,409 shares during the period. KAMES CAPITAL plc bought a new position in First Bancorp in the 2nd quarter worth approximately $1,997,000. Hennessy Advisors Inc. boosted its holdings in First Bancorp by 6.9% in the 2nd quarter. Hennessy Advisors Inc. now owns 620,000 shares of the bank’s stock worth $6,845,000 after buying an additional 40,000 shares during the period. Finally, Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund boosted its holdings in First Bancorp by 1.8% in the 2nd quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 85,636 shares of the bank’s stock worth $945,000 after buying an additional 1,500 shares during the period. 90.41% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Several equities research analysts have commented on the stock. ValuEngine lowered shares of First Bancorp from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Tuesday, September 10th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of First Bancorp from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $12.00 target price for the company in a research report on Thursday, October 24th.

Shares of First Bancorp stock traded down $0.06 on Friday, reaching $10.50. 577,159 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 1,311,528. First Bancorp has a 52 week low of $7.91 and a 52 week high of $11.94. The company has a 50 day moving average of $10.32 and a 200 day moving average of $10.30. The firm has a market capitalization of $2.31 billion, a PE ratio of 16.94, a PEG ratio of 0.75 and a beta of 1.55. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.43, a current ratio of 1.05 and a quick ratio of 1.04.

First Bancorp (NYSE:FBP) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, October 22nd. The bank reported $0.20 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.19 by $0.01. First Bancorp had a net margin of 30.46% and a return on equity of 7.93%. The firm had revenue of $165.83 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $171.90 million. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $0.16 EPS. As a group, analysts anticipate that First Bancorp will post 0.75 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 13th. Stockholders of record on Friday, November 29th will be given a dividend of $0.05 per share. This is an increase from First Bancorp’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.03. This represents a $0.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.90%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, November 27th. First Bancorp’s dividend payout ratio is currently 19.35%.

First Bancorp Company Profile

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

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