First Foundation Inc (NASDAQ:FFWM) Sees Large Increase in Short Interest

First Foundation Inc (NASDAQ:FFWM) saw a large growth in short interest during the month of September. As of September 14th, there was short interest totalling 1,074,699 shares, a growth of 34.6% from the August 31st total of 798,174 shares. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 204,574 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 5.3 days. Currently, 2.8% of the company’s stock are sold short.

In other First Foundation news, Chairman Ulrich E. Keller, Jr. sold 9,400 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, September 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $17.01, for a total transaction of $159,894.00. Following the sale, the chairman now directly owns 20,000 shares in the company, valued at approximately $340,200. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, Director James G. Brakke bought 5,500 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, August 29th. The shares were acquired at an average price of $15.92 per share, for a total transaction of $87,560.00. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders purchased a total of 13,900 shares of company stock worth $224,822 in the last 90 days. 14.30% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Mesirow Financial Investment Management Inc. grew its position in shares of First Foundation by 18.9% during the third quarter. Mesirow Financial Investment Management Inc. now owns 27,070 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $423,000 after purchasing an additional 4,310 shares in the last quarter. Northern Trust Corp grew its position in First Foundation by 16.1% in the second quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 391,993 shares of the bank’s stock worth $7,267,000 after acquiring an additional 54,371 shares in the last quarter. Millennium Management LLC purchased a new position in First Foundation in the second quarter worth about $5,968,000. Tower Research Capital LLC TRC purchased a new position in First Foundation in the second quarter worth about $254,000. Finally, Bank of America Corp DE grew its position in First Foundation by 226.0% in the second quarter. Bank of America Corp DE now owns 62,047 shares of the bank’s stock worth $1,151,000 after acquiring an additional 43,015 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 55.81% of the company’s stock.

A number of equities analysts have recently issued reports on FFWM shares. ValuEngine upgraded First Foundation from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Thursday, September 6th. Piper Jaffray Companies set a $16.00 price target on First Foundation and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Monday, July 30th. Sandler O’Neill downgraded First Foundation from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $21.50 price target on the stock. in a research note on Tuesday, July 31st. BidaskClub cut First Foundation from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Friday, July 27th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research cut First Foundation from a “hold” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a report on Friday, August 3rd. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, two have issued a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the stock. First Foundation presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $20.08.

NASDAQ:FFWM traded down $0.26 on Friday, reaching $14.98. 597,029 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 203,941. The company has a quick ratio of 1.00, a current ratio of 1.13 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.53. The stock has a market cap of $693.48 million, a PE ratio of 15.44, a P/E/G ratio of 2.24 and a beta of 0.60. First Foundation has a 12 month low of $14.24 and a 12 month high of $20.43.

First Foundation (NASDAQ:FFWM) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Monday, July 30th. The bank reported $0.22 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.28 by ($0.06). The firm had revenue of $43.24 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $45.38 million. First Foundation had a net margin of 12.87% and a return on equity of 9.51%. Sell-side analysts anticipate that First Foundation will post 1 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

About First Foundation

First Foundation Inc, through its subsidiaries, provides financial services to individuals, businesses, and other organizations in the United States. It operates in two segments, Banking; and Investment Management and Wealth Planning. The company offers a range of bank deposit products, including personal and business checking accounts, savings accounts, interest-bearing negotiable order of withdrawal accounts, money market accounts, and time certificates of deposit; and loan products consisting of multifamily and single family residential real estate loans, commercial real estate loans, and commercial term loans and lines of credit, as well as consumer loans, such as personal installment loans and lines of credit, and home equity lines of credit.

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