Short Interest in First Bancorp (NASDAQ:FBNC) Increases By 16.9%

First Bancorp (NASDAQ:FBNC) was the recipient of a large growth in short interest in the month of May. As of May 29th, there was short interest totalling 445,900 shares, a growth of 16.9% from the May 14th total of 381,400 shares. Currently, 1.6% of the shares of the company are sold short. Based on an average trading volume of 120,200 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is currently 3.7 days.

NASDAQ FBNC traded up $0.79 during midday trading on Friday, hitting $25.08. The company had a trading volume of 108,502 shares, compared to its average volume of 94,224. The company has a quick ratio of 0.97, a current ratio of 0.98 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.47. The stock has a market cap of $705.40 million, a price-to-earnings ratio of 8.44, a P/E/G ratio of 2.99 and a beta of 1.27. The firm has a fifty day simple moving average of $24.39 and a two-hundred day simple moving average of $31.18. First Bancorp has a fifty-two week low of $17.32 and a fifty-two week high of $41.34.

First Bancorp (NASDAQ:FBNC) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, April 28th. The financial services provider reported $0.62 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.56 by $0.06. First Bancorp had a net margin of 28.34% and a return on equity of 10.45%. The company had revenue of $68.46 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $68.23 million. As a group, equities analysts predict that First Bancorp will post 2.08 earnings per share for the current year.

Several research analysts recently commented on FBNC shares. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of First Bancorp from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, May 27th. DA Davidson started coverage on shares of First Bancorp in a research report on Thursday, February 27th. They issued a “buy” rating on the stock. G.Research restated a “buy” rating on shares of First Bancorp in a research report on Friday, May 1st. Finally, ValuEngine lowered shares of First Bancorp from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Wednesday, April 8th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, one has issued a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $43.50.

In other news, Director Frederick Leslie Taylor bought 4,176 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, March 16th. The shares were purchased at an average price of $23.93 per share, for a total transaction of $99,931.68. Following the acquisition, the director now directly owns 35,582 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $851,477.26. The purchase was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Company insiders own 2.37% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Tower Research Capital LLC TRC boosted its position in shares of First Bancorp by 1,919.3% during the 4th quarter. Tower Research Capital LLC TRC now owns 1,151 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $46,000 after acquiring an additional 1,094 shares in the last quarter. Great West Life Assurance Co. Can acquired a new stake in shares of First Bancorp during the 4th quarter valued at about $77,000. Advisor Group Holdings Inc. acquired a new stake in shares of First Bancorp during the 1st quarter valued at about $141,000. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA boosted its position in shares of First Bancorp by 163.9% during the 1st quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 9,159 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $211,000 after acquiring an additional 5,689 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Citigroup Inc. boosted its position in shares of First Bancorp by 50.5% during the 1st quarter. Citigroup Inc. now owns 9,343 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $216,000 after acquiring an additional 3,133 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 67.75% of the company’s stock.

About First Bancorp

First Bancorp operates as the bank holding company for First Bank that provides banking products and services for individuals and small to medium-sized businesses primarily in North Carolina and northeastern South Carolina. It accepts deposit products, such as checking, savings, and money market accounts, as well as time deposits, including certificates of deposit and individual retirement accounts.

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