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

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of First Bancorp (NASDAQ:FBNC) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report sent to investors on Thursday morning, Zacks.com reports. They currently have $41.00 target price on the financial services provider’s stock.

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. “

FBNC has been the topic of a number of other research reports. BidaskClub raised shares of First Bancorp from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Friday, February 22nd. Brean Capital reaffirmed a buy rating on shares of First Bancorp in a research note on Monday, March 18th. Sandler O’Neill raised shares of First Bancorp from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Monday, March 25th. Finally, Gabelli raised shares of First Bancorp from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $44.00 target price on the stock in a research note on Thursday, April 25th. Five research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and five have assigned a buy rating to the stock. First Bancorp currently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average price target of $41.40.

Shares of FBNC opened at $36.19 on Thursday. The stock has a market cap of $1.08 billion, a PE ratio of 12.02, a P/E/G ratio of 2.67 and a beta of 1.24. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.52, a quick ratio of 0.99 and a current ratio of 0.99. First Bancorp has a 1-year low of $30.50 and a 1-year high of $43.14.

First Bancorp (NASDAQ:FBNC) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, April 23rd. The financial services provider reported $0.75 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.71 by $0.04. The firm had revenue of $68.24 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $67.41 million. First Bancorp had a net margin of 30.44% and a return on equity of 12.04%. Research analysts expect that First Bancorp will post 3.09 EPS for the current year.

In related news, Director Mary Clara Capel sold 1,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, May 31st. The shares were sold at an average price of $35.50, for a total transaction of $35,500.00. Following the sale, the director now owns 15,009 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $532,819.50. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, Director Thomas F. Phillips sold 2,250 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, May 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $35.58, for a total transaction of $80,055.00. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 84,212 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,996,262.96. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 4,250 shares of company stock worth $151,855 in the last three months. 2.37% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of large investors have recently bought and sold shares of FBNC. Marshall Wace LLP increased its holdings in First Bancorp by 1,440.2% during the first 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 during the last quarter. Castine Capital Management LLC increased its stake in shares of First Bancorp by 1.7% in the first quarter. Castine Capital Management LLC now owns 201,095 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $6,990,000 after purchasing an additional 3,402 shares in the last quarter. CNA Financial Corp increased its stake in shares of First Bancorp by 36.6% in the first quarter. CNA Financial Corp now owns 9,339 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $325,000 after purchasing an additional 2,500 shares in the last quarter. Vaughan Nelson Investment Management L.P. increased its stake in shares of First Bancorp by 22.7% in the first quarter. Vaughan Nelson Investment Management L.P. now owns 1,296,300 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $45,059,000 after purchasing an additional 239,475 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Kennedy Capital Management Inc. increased its stake in shares of First Bancorp by 3.8% in the first quarter. Kennedy Capital Management Inc. now owns 105,841 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $3,679,000 after purchasing an additional 3,903 shares in the last quarter. 66.03% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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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