Short-term stake in First Foundation Inc. (NASDAQ:FFWM) increases 25.8%

First Foundation Inc. (NASDAQ: FFWM – Get a rating) saw strong growth in short-term interest during the month of May. As of May 15, there was short interest totaling 1,190,000 shares, up 25.8% from the total of 945,800 shares as of April 30. Based on an average daily volume of 324,700 shares, the day-to-cover ratio is currently 3.7 days.

Several equity research analysts have published reports on FFWM shares. B. Riley lowered his price target on First Foundation from $34.00 to $31.00 in a Tuesday, April 12 report. Zacks Investment Research upgraded First Foundation from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a Thursday, February 3, research report. Stephens began covering First Foundation in a research report on Wednesday, February 2. They issued an “overweight” rating and a target price of $32.00 for the company. To finish, StockNews.com began covering First Foundation in a research report on Thursday, March 31. They issued a “hold” rating for the company. Two research analysts rated the stock with a hold rating and three assigned the company a buy rating. Based on data from MarketBeat.com, the company has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $31.00.

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NASDAQ: FFWM opened at $22.55 on Wednesday. First Foundation has a 12 month minimum of $20.90 and a 12 month maximum of $29.41. The company has a market capitalization of $1.27 billion, a P/E ratio of 9.13 and a beta of 1.22. The company has a debt ratio of 0.30, a current ratio of 0.97 and a quick ratio of 0.91. The company has a 50-day simple moving average of $22.88 and a 200-day simple moving average of $25.01.

First Foundation (NASDAQ: FFWM – Get a rating) last released its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, April 26. The bank reported earnings per share (EPS) of $0.55 for the quarter, beating consensus analyst estimates of $0.51 by $0.04. First Foundation had a return on equity of 13.80% and a net margin of 34.58%. In the same quarter last year, the company posted earnings per share of $0.50. Research analysts expect First Foundation to post an EPS of 2.29 for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, May 16. Shareholders of record on Friday, May 6 received a dividend of $0.11 per share. This represents an annualized dividend of $0.44 and a yield of 1.95%. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, May 5. First Foundation’s payout ratio is currently 17.81%.

A number of institutional investors have recently changed their positions in FFWM. River Oaks Capital LLC purchased a new stake in First Foundation during Q4 for $754,000. BlackRock Inc. increased its stake in First Foundation shares by 22.1% in Q1. BlackRock Inc. now owns 3,817,772 shares of the bank worth $92,735,000 after purchasing an additional 691,494 shares last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its stake in shares of First Foundation by 26.0% in Q1. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 2,506,062 shares of the bank worth $60,872,000 after purchasing an additional 517,634 shares last quarter. GMT Capital Corp increased its stake in First Foundation shares by 28.7% in the 1st quarter. GMT Capital Corp now owns 2,208,381 shares of the bank worth $53,642,000 after buying an additional 492,399 shares last quarter. Finally, Allspring Global Investments Holdings LLC purchased a new equity stake in First Foundation in Q4 worth $9,476,000. 60.50% of the shares are currently held by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About First Foundation (Get a rating)

First Foundation Inc, through its subsidiaries, provides retail, corporate and private wealth management banking services in the United States. It operates through two segments, Banking and Wealth Management. The Company offers a range of bank deposit products, including personal and business checking accounts, savings accounts, interest-bearing negotiable promissory withdrawal accounts, money market accounts and term deposit certificates; and lending products consisting of multi-family and single-family residential real estate loans, commercial real estate loans and commercial term loans and lines of credit, as well as consumer loans, such as personal installment loans and lines of credit , and home equity lines of credit .

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