Business First Bancshares (NASDAQ:BFST) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research to Sell

Business First Bancshares (NASDAQ:BFST) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note issued on Tuesday, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “Business First Bancshares Inc. provides commercial and personal banking services to small to midsize businesses. Its services includes checking and savings accounts, certificates of deposit, individual retirement accounts, consumer loans, commercial and non-profit checking, commercial interest checking, business sweep investment, essential business checking, business value checking accounts, business loans, cash management and merchant processing and other services. The company operates primarily in Baton Rouge, Brusly, Covington, Denham Springs, Erwinville, Gonzales, Houma, Lafayette, New Orleans, Shreveport, Port Allen, Zachary and Lake Charles, Louisiana as well as Dallas, Texas. Business First Bancshares Inc. is based in Clayton, United States. “

A number of other equities analysts also recently weighed in on the company. DA Davidson reiterated a “neutral” rating on shares of Business First Bancshares in a report on Monday, July 22nd. ValuEngine downgraded Business First Bancshares from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Thursday, August 1st. Finally, Stephens downgraded Business First Bancshares from an “overweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating and set a $27.00 target price on the stock. in a report on Tuesday, July 9th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, two have issued a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $27.67.

NASDAQ BFST traded up $0.21 on Tuesday, hitting $24.61. 6,513 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 15,678. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $24.08 and its 200-day moving average price is $24.65. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.48, a current ratio of 1.00 and a quick ratio of 1.00. The firm has a market capitalization of $328.15 million, a P/E ratio of 16.97 and a beta of 0.21. Business First Bancshares has a twelve month low of $20.64 and a twelve month high of $26.92.

Business First Bancshares (NASDAQ:BFST) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, July 24th. The company reported $0.48 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.43 by $0.05. The company had revenue of $24.41 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $22.12 million. Business First Bancshares had a return on equity of 8.38% and a net margin of 19.47%. As a group, equities analysts expect that Business First Bancshares will post 1.83 EPS for the current year.

In other Business First Bancshares news, Director Andrew D. Mclindon bought 1,900 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, September 4th. The shares were bought at an average price of $24.81 per share, for a total transaction of $47,139.00. 7.43% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. BlackRock Inc. grew its stake in shares of Business First Bancshares by 20.8% in the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 656,305 shares of the company’s stock valued at $16,702,000 after buying an additional 113,023 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. grew its stake in shares of Business First Bancshares by 3.7% in the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 551,148 shares of the company’s stock valued at $14,026,000 after buying an additional 19,827 shares in the last quarter. Banc Funds Co. LLC grew its stake in shares of Business First Bancshares by 3.0% in the 1st quarter. Banc Funds Co. LLC now owns 525,149 shares of the company’s stock valued at $12,887,000 after buying an additional 15,149 shares in the last quarter. Northern Trust Corp grew its stake in shares of Business First Bancshares by 6.2% in the 2nd quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 122,865 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,127,000 after buying an additional 7,122 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Bank of New York Mellon Corp grew its stake in shares of Business First Bancshares by 4.9% in the 2nd quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 47,304 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,203,000 after buying an additional 2,193 shares in the last quarter. 43.88% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Business First Bancshares Company Profile

Business First Bancshares, Inc operates as the bank holding company for Business First Bank that provides various banking products and services. It offers various deposit products and services, including a range of checking, demand, money market, time, and savings accounts, as well as certificates of deposit; and remote deposit capture and direct deposit services.

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