Southern First Bancshares (SFST) Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research to “Buy”

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Southern First Bancshares (NASDAQ:SFST) from a sell rating to a buy rating in a report published on Wednesday. Zacks Investment Research currently has $48.00 price target on the bank’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Greenville First Bancshares, Inc. is the holding company for Greenville First Bank, N.A., a national banking association chartered under the laws of the United States. “

Other equities research analysts have also issued research reports about the stock. ValuEngine lowered shares of Southern First Bancshares from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note on Tuesday, November 14th. FIG Partners restated an outperform rating and issued a $42.00 price target (up previously from $40.00) on shares of Southern First Bancshares in a research note on Wednesday, October 4th. Finally, BidaskClub lowered shares of Southern First Bancshares from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note on Saturday, August 12th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have given a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the company. The stock has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $41.00.

Shares of Southern First Bancshares (NASDAQ:SFST) traded down $0.35 during trading hours on Wednesday, hitting $41.75. 6,000 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 15,061. Southern First Bancshares has a 12 month low of $31.40 and a 12 month high of $43.20. The firm has a market capitalization of $308.13, a price-to-earnings ratio of 21.16 and a beta of 0.74. The company has a quick ratio of 1.03, a current ratio of 1.04 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.36.

Southern First Bancshares (NASDAQ:SFST) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The bank reported $0.55 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.53 by $0.02. Southern First Bancshares had a net margin of 21.10% and a return on equity of 11.10%. The company had revenue of $15.85 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $15.22 million. sell-side analysts anticipate that Southern First Bancshares will post 2.03 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In related news, CFO Michael D. Dowling sold 4,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, November 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $42.29, for a total value of $169,160.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief financial officer now owns 28,007 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,184,416.03. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, President F Justin Strickland sold 1,250 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, November 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $39.00, for a total transaction of $48,750.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the president now directly owns 62,889 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,452,671. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 12.85% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Bank of America Corp DE boosted its stake in shares of Southern First Bancshares by 7.9% during the 1st quarter. Bank of America Corp DE now owns 3,080 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $100,000 after buying an additional 226 shares during the period. American International Group Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Southern First Bancshares by 7.3% during the 1st quarter. American International Group Inc. now owns 3,534 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $115,000 after buying an additional 239 shares during the period. Teachers Advisors LLC boosted its stake in shares of Southern First Bancshares by 8.1% during the 2nd quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC now owns 10,609 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $393,000 after buying an additional 799 shares during the period. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC boosted its stake in shares of Southern First Bancshares by 6.1% during the 2nd quarter. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC now owns 17,521 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $649,000 after buying an additional 1,010 shares during the period. Finally, Bank of New York Mellon Corp boosted its stake in shares of Southern First Bancshares by 12.1% during the 3rd quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 24,888 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $905,000 after buying an additional 2,685 shares during the period. 70.12% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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About Southern First Bancshares

Southern First Bancshares, Inc is a bank holding company that owns the capital stock of Southern First Bank (the Bank), a South Carolina state bank, and all of the stock of Greenville First Statutory Trust I and II (the Trusts). The Bank is a commercial bank with approximately nine retail offices located in Greenville, Columbia and Charleston, South Carolina.

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