The First Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ: FBMS – Get a rating) benefited from a significant increase in short-term interest in August. As of August 15, there was short interest totaling 746,000 shares, an increase of 93.7% from the total of 385,200 shares as of July 31. Based on an average daily trading volume of 77,900 shares, the short-term interest rate ratio is currently 9.6 days.
First Banc shares trade down 2.0%
The NASDAQ FBMS fell $0.61 on Friday, hitting $30.65. The company’s shares had a trading volume of 2,612 shares, compared to an average volume of 118,469. The company has a market capitalization of $736.52 million, a P/E ratio of 10.15 and a beta of 1.01. First Bancshares has a 52-week low of $26.95 and a 52-week high of $42.89. The company’s 50-day simple moving average is $29.42 and its 200-day simple moving average is $31.73. The company has a current ratio of 0.66, a quick ratio of 0.65 and a debt ratio of 0.26.
First Bancshares (NASDAQ:FBMS – Get a rating) last announced its quarterly results on Wednesday, July 27. The bank reported EPS of $0.80 for the quarter, missing analyst consensus estimates of $0.82 per ($0.02). First Bancshares had a return on equity of 10.19% and a net margin of 29.88%. The company posted revenue of $50.77 million in the quarter, compared to $49.08 million expected by analysts. During the same period of the previous year, the company achieved EPS of $0.74. Research analysts predict that First Bancshares will post an EPS of 3.07 for the current financial year.
First Bancshares increases its dividend
The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, August 25. Investors of record on Monday August 8 received a dividend of $0.19 per share. The ex-dividend date was Friday August 5th. This represents an annualized dividend of $0.76 and a dividend yield of 2.48%. This is a boost from First Bancshares’ previous quarterly dividend of $0.18. First Bancshares’ payout ratio is currently 24.68%.
Hedge funds weigh on First Bancshares
A number of institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of FBMS. BlackRock Inc. increased its holdings of First Bancshares shares by 5.3% during the 1st quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 1,726,796 shares of the bank worth $58,122,000 after acquiring an additional 86,597 shares during the period. Royce & Associates LP increased its stake in First Bancshares by 11.4% in the second quarter. Royce & Associates LP now owns 836,140 shares of the bank worth $23,914,000 after purchasing an additional 85,588 shares during the period. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP increased its stake in First Bancshares by 5.5% in the first quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 536,145 shares of the bank worth $18,047,000 after purchasing an additional 27,876 shares in the last quarter. RMB Capital Management LLC bought a new position in First Bancshares during the second quarter worth $11,526,000. Finally, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. increased its position in First Bancshares shares by 216.2% in the second quarter. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. now owns 189,147 shares of the bank worth $5,410,000 after purchasing an additional 129,326 shares during the period. 65.17% of the shares are held by institutional investors.
Changes to analyst ratings
A number of brokerages have commented on the FBMS. StockNews.com upgraded First Bancshares from a “buy” to a “hold” rating in a Monday May 23 research note. Janney Montgomery Scott downgraded shares of First Bancshares from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a price target of $41.00 for the company. in a report Thursday, July 28. They noted that the move was a review call. Finally, DA Davidson lowered its price target on First Bancshares shares to $4.00 and set an “na” rating for the company in a Monday, May 16 research report.
About First Bancshares
The First Bancshares, Inc operates as the bank 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 banking, mortgage banking division and holding company. It offers deposit services including checking, NOW and savings accounts; other term deposits, such as daily money market accounts and longer-term certificates of deposit; and Individual Retirement and Health Savings Accounts.
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