Business First Bancshares (NASDAQ:BFST) Upgraded at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Business First Bancshares (NASDAQ:BFST) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report published on Thursday, 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. “

BFST has been the subject of a number of other research reports. BidaskClub raised shares of Business First Bancshares from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note on Wednesday, June 10th. Raymond James lowered Business First Bancshares from a strong-buy rating to a market perform rating in a research report on Wednesday, April 29th. ValuEngine upgraded Business First Bancshares from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note on Friday, July 3rd. Finally, DA Davidson cut Business First Bancshares from a buy rating to a neutral rating and set a $15.00 target price on the stock. in a research note on Friday, May 1st. Five investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and one has given a buy rating to the stock. Business First Bancshares presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $22.25.

BFST opened at $13.64 on Thursday. The company has a current ratio of 1.03, a quick ratio of 1.03 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.58. The company has a market cap of $281.90 million, a price-to-earnings ratio of 8.07 and a beta of 0.97. The stock has a fifty day simple moving average of $14.39 and a two-hundred day simple moving average of $16.82. Business First Bancshares has a 12-month low of $9.17 and a 12-month high of $26.64.

Business First Bancshares (NASDAQ:BFST) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, July 29th. The company reported $0.41 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.30 by $0.11. Business First Bancshares had a net margin of 13.94% and a return on equity of 8.75%. The firm had revenue of $35.92 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $33.81 million. On average, analysts predict that Business First Bancshares will post 1.51 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, August 31st. Stockholders of record on Saturday, August 15th will be issued a dividend of $0.10 per share. This represents a $0.40 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.93%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, August 13th. Business First Bancshares’s payout ratio is 22.22%.

In other Business First Bancshares news, Director Steven Gerard White acquired 3,500 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, May 14th. The shares were acquired at an average cost of $11.18 per share, with a total value of $39,130.00. Following the transaction, the director now owns 7,140 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $79,825.20. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. 7.60% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of large investors have recently modified their holdings of BFST. Citigroup Inc. lifted its stake in Business First Bancshares by 39.9% during the 1st quarter. Citigroup Inc. now owns 3,501 shares of the company’s stock valued at $47,000 after acquiring an additional 998 shares during the period. GWM Advisors LLC raised its holdings in shares of Business First Bancshares by 4.0% during the first quarter. GWM Advisors LLC now owns 26,200 shares of the company’s stock valued at $354,000 after purchasing an additional 1,000 shares during the last quarter. Acadian Asset Management LLC raised its holdings in shares of Business First Bancshares by 58.4% during the first quarter. Acadian Asset Management LLC now owns 5,377 shares of the company’s stock valued at $73,000 after purchasing an additional 1,982 shares during the last quarter. Strs Ohio bought a new position in Business First Bancshares during the first quarter valued at approximately $32,000. Finally, Rhumbline Advisers boosted its holdings in Business First Bancshares by 20.1% in the first quarter. Rhumbline Advisers now owns 21,707 shares of the company’s stock worth $293,000 after purchasing an additional 3,640 shares during the last quarter. 27.00% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Business First Bancshares

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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