First Bancshares (FBMS) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research to Sell

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of First Bancshares (NASDAQ:FBMS) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report released on Wednesday morning.

According to Zacks, “The FIRST BANCSHARES, INC., headquartered in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, is the parent company of The First, A National Banking Association. The First is now ranked in the top twenty banks by asset size in Mississippi. The First has operations in Hattiesburg, Laurel, Purvis, Picayune, Pascagoula, Bay St. Louis, Wiggins and Gulfport, Mississippi. The Company and its subsidiary bank engage in a general commercial and retail banking business characterized by personalized service and local decision-making, emphasizing the banking needs of small to medium-sized businesses, professional concerns and individuals. The products and services offered by the bank include deposit services, loan products, mortgage loan divisions and other services. “

Several other research analysts also recently weighed in on the stock. BidaskClub downgraded shares of First Bancshares from a sell rating to a strong sell rating in a research report on Wednesday, February 20th. Stephens reissued a buy rating and issued a $37.00 target price on shares of First Bancshares in a research report on Tuesday, February 5th.

Shares of FBMS traded up $0.14 during mid-day trading on Wednesday, hitting $32.90. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 51,375 shares, compared to its average volume of 18,959. The stock has a market capitalization of $484.76 million, a P/E ratio of 13.96 and a beta of 0.29. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.56, a current ratio of 0.92 and a quick ratio of 0.91. First Bancshares has a fifty-two week low of $27.84 and a fifty-two week high of $43.53.

First Bancshares (NASDAQ:FBMS) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Monday, January 28th. The bank reported $0.64 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.62 by $0.02. The company had revenue of $31.67 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $29.83 million. First Bancshares had a net margin of 17.61% and a return on equity of 11.11%. As a group, equities research analysts forecast that First Bancshares will post 2.82 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, February 26th. Stockholders of record on Monday, February 11th were given a $0.07 dividend. This is an increase from First Bancshares’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.05. This represents a $0.28 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.85%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, February 8th. First Bancshares’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 12.23%.

Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Great West Life Assurance Co. Can grew its position in First Bancshares by 16,750.0% during the fourth quarter. Great West Life Assurance Co. Can now owns 2,696 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $78,000 after purchasing an additional 2,680 shares in the last quarter. Legal & General Group Plc grew its position in First Bancshares by 40.5% during the fourth quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 2,603 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $79,000 after purchasing an additional 750 shares in the last quarter. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. NY grew its position in First Bancshares by 284.2% during the fourth quarter. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. NY now owns 3,623 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $110,000 after purchasing an additional 2,680 shares in the last quarter. IFP Advisors Inc purchased a new position in First Bancshares during the third quarter valued at approximately $114,000. Finally, Raymond James & Associates purchased a new position in First Bancshares during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $201,000. 58.54% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

First Bancshares Company Profile

The First Bancshares, Inc operates as the holding company for The First, A National Banking Association that provides general commercial and retail banking services. The company operates through three segments: Commercial/Retail Bank, Mortgage Banking Division, and Holding Company. It offers deposit services, including checking, NOW, and savings accounts; other time deposits, such as daily money market accounts and longer-term certificates of deposit; and individual retirement accounts.

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