First Busey Co. (NASDAQ:BUSE) Short Interest Up 7.9% in March

First Busey Co. (NASDAQ:BUSEGet Free Report) was the recipient of a significant growth in short interest during the month of March. As of March 15th, there was short interest totalling 949,000 shares, a growth of 7.9% from the February 29th total of 879,300 shares. Based on an average trading volume of 151,600 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 6.3 days. Currently, 1.8% of the shares of the company are short sold.

Insiders Place Their Bets

In other First Busey news, Director Karen M. Jensen purchased 2,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, March 1st. The shares were acquired at an average cost of $22.98 per share, for a total transaction of $45,960.00. Following the completion of the purchase, the director now owns 47,585 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,093,503.30. The purchase was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. In other First Busey news, Director Michael David Cassens sold 2,300 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, January 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $23.19, for a total transaction of $53,337.00. Following the transaction, the director now owns 143,433 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,326,211.27. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, Director Karen M. Jensen bought 2,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, March 1st. The shares were bought at an average price of $22.98 per share, with a total value of $45,960.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 47,585 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,093,503.30. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders purchased 4,917 shares of company stock worth $117,215 and sold 6,900 shares worth $159,091. Company insiders own 7.40% of the company’s stock.

Hedge Funds Weigh In On First Busey

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Lindbrook Capital LLC increased its stake in shares of First Busey by 1,143.5% in the fourth quarter. Lindbrook Capital LLC now owns 1,057 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $26,000 after buying an additional 972 shares during the period. Studio Investment Management LLC bought a new position in shares of First Busey during the fourth quarter valued at $30,000. Tower Research Capital LLC TRC lifted its holdings in shares of First Busey by 237.9% during the first quarter. Tower Research Capital LLC TRC now owns 1,409 shares of the bank’s stock worth $29,000 after purchasing an additional 992 shares during the period. Point72 Hong Kong Ltd bought a new stake in shares of First Busey in the first quarter worth $36,000. Finally, Lazard Asset Management LLC acquired a new stake in First Busey in the second quarter valued at $34,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 56.49% of the company’s stock.

First Busey Price Performance

First Busey stock traded down $0.08 during midday trading on Wednesday, reaching $23.00. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 22,614 shares, compared to its average volume of 155,715. The company has a current ratio of 0.79, a quick ratio of 0.79 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.25. The stock has a market cap of $1.27 billion, a PE ratio of 10.59 and a beta of 0.85. First Busey has a 52 week low of $16.26 and a 52 week high of $25.80. The business has a 50-day moving average price of $23.34 and a 200-day moving average price of $22.27.

First Busey (NASDAQ:BUSEGet Free Report) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, January 23rd. The bank reported $0.52 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.49 by $0.03. The company had revenue of $108.65 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $107.74 million. First Busey had a net margin of 20.37% and a return on equity of 10.38%. On average, sell-side analysts predict that First Busey will post 2.14 EPS for the current year.

First Busey Announces Dividend

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, January 26th. Investors of record on Friday, January 19th were issued a dividend of $0.24 per share. This represents a $0.96 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 4.17%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, January 18th. First Busey’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 44.24%.

Analyst Ratings Changes

Several equities research analysts recently weighed in on BUSE shares. StockNews.com raised shares of First Busey from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, March 1st. Raymond James upped their price target on shares of First Busey from $24.00 to $27.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a report on Tuesday, December 12th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a hold rating and four have issued a buy rating to the stock. Based on data from MarketBeat.com, First Busey currently has a consensus rating of “Moderate Buy” and an average price target of $24.50.

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First Busey Company Profile

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First Busey Corporation operates as the bank holding company for Busey Bank that engages in the provision of retail and commercial banking products and services to individual, corporate, institutional, and governmental customers in the United States. It operates through three segments: Banking, Wealth Management, and FirsTech.

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