Southern First Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ:SFST) Short Interest Down 34.1% in January

Southern First Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ:SFST) was the recipient of a significant decline in short interest in the month of January. As of January 15th, there was short interest totalling 34,200 shares, a decline of 34.1% from the December 31st total of 51,900 shares. Approximately 0.5% of the company’s shares are sold short. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 13,000 shares, the short-interest ratio is currently 2.6 days.

SFST has been the topic of several analyst reports. Zacks Investment Research downgraded Southern First Bancshares from a “strong-buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, October 9th. ValuEngine upgraded Southern First Bancshares from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Wednesday. Finally, BidaskClub downgraded Southern First Bancshares from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Tuesday, January 7th.

In other news, President F Justin Strickland sold 4,996 shares of Southern First Bancshares stock in a transaction dated Monday, October 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $40.50, for a total value of $202,338.00. Following the transaction, the president now owns 82,559 shares in the company, valued at $3,343,639.50. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, CEO R Arthur Seaver, Jr. sold 2,198 shares of Southern First Bancshares stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, October 30th. The stock was sold at an average price of $40.50, for a total value of $89,019.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 82,262 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,331,611. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders sold 26,049 shares of company stock worth $1,080,489. Company insiders own 10.51% of the company’s stock.

A number of large investors have recently made changes to their positions in SFST. Wedge Capital Management L L P NC increased its holdings in Southern First Bancshares by 87.5% during the 3rd quarter. Wedge Capital Management L L P NC now owns 139,822 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $5,572,000 after purchasing an additional 65,235 shares during the period. Comerica Bank increased its holdings in Southern First Bancshares by 153.3% during the 3rd quarter. Comerica Bank now owns 36,156 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $1,493,000 after purchasing an additional 21,882 shares during the period. Bowling Portfolio Management LLC purchased a new position in Southern First Bancshares during the 4th quarter valued at about $840,000. BlackRock Inc. increased its holdings in Southern First Bancshares by 4.9% during the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 398,092 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $15,589,000 after purchasing an additional 18,521 shares during the period. Finally, State Street Corp increased its holdings in Southern First Bancshares by 9.5% during the 3rd quarter. State Street Corp now owns 116,847 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $4,656,000 after purchasing an additional 10,177 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 74.13% of the company’s stock.

NASDAQ:SFST traded down $1.09 during mid-day trading on Friday, reaching $40.68. 29,991 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 11,225. Southern First Bancshares has a 12-month low of $31.51 and a 12-month high of $44.43. The firm has a market capitalization of $318.23 million, a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.93 and a beta of 0.96. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.31, a current ratio of 1.05 and a quick ratio of 1.03. The company has a 50 day moving average price of $42.67 and a 200-day moving average price of $40.59.

Southern First Bancshares (NASDAQ:SFST) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Friday, November 1st. The bank reported $0.95 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.83 by $0.12. Southern First Bancshares had a return on equity of 14.23% and a net margin of 25.48%. The company had revenue of $21.68 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $20.89 million.

About Southern First Bancshares

Southern First Bancshares, Inc operates as the bank holding company for Southern First Bank that provides various banking products and services to general public in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia. It accepts various deposit products that include checking accounts, commercial checking accounts, savings accounts, and other time deposits, including daily money market accounts and long-term certificates of deposit.

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