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Should Value Investors Buy First Financial Bancorp (FFBC) Stock?

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While the proven Zacks Rank places an emphasis on earnings estimates and estimate revisions to find strong stocks, we also know that investors tend to develop their own individual strategies. With this in mind, we are always looking at value, growth, and momentum trends to discover great companies.

Of these, value investing is easily one of the most popular ways to find great stocks in any market environment. Value investors use a variety of methods, including tried-and-true valuation metrics, to find these stocks.

In addition to the Zacks Rank, investors looking for stocks with specific traits can utilize our Style Scores system. Of course, value investors will be most interested in the system's "Value" category. Stocks with "A" grades for Value and high Zacks Ranks are among the best value stocks available at any given moment.

One stock to keep an eye on is First Financial Bancorp (FFBC - Free Report) . FFBC is currently sporting a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy), as well as an A grade for Value. The stock holds a P/E ratio of 9.63, while its industry has an average P/E of 12.32. Over the past 52 weeks, FFBC's Forward P/E has been as high as 12.88 and as low as 6.71, with a median of 11.10.

Investors should also recognize that FFBC has a P/B ratio of 0.53. The P/B ratio is used to compare a stock's market value with its book value, which is defined as total assets minus total liabilities. This stock's P/B looks attractive against its industry's average P/B of 1.41. FFBC's P/B has been as high as 1.16 and as low as 0.50, with a median of 0.66, over the past year.

Value investors also use the P/S ratio. The P/S ratio is is calculated as price divided by sales. This is a prefered metric because revenue can't really be manipulated, so sales are often a truer performance indicator. FFBC has a P/S ratio of 1.68. This compares to its industry's average P/S of 1.74.

Finally, we should also recognize that FFBC has a P/CF ratio of 5.67. This metric focuses on a firm's operating cash flow and is often used to find stocks that are undervalued based on the strength of their cash outlook. FFBC's current P/CF looks attractive when compared to its industry's average P/CF of 13.36. FFBC's P/CF has been as high as 10.66 and as low as 5.08, with a median of 6.79, all within the past year.

These figures are just a handful of the metrics value investors tend to look at, but they help show that First Financial Bancorp is likely being undervalued right now. Considering this, as well as the strength of its earnings outlook, FFBC feels like a great value stock at the moment.


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