Southern First Bancshares Inc. (NASDAQ: SFST) Shares Downgraded at Zacks Investment Research

Analysts at Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Southern First Bancshares Inc. (NASDAQ: SFST) from Buy to Hold in a research note to investors today.Zacks Investment Research currently has a rating of Hold on the stock. A number of other analysts have issued reports on the company in recent days, and Southern First Bancshares Inc. has secured a consensus one-year price target of $28.36, higher than the opening price of $28.25, a difference of 10.04 percent. Southern First Bancshares Inc. stock has a 52-week high of $31.11. Downgrades are more common when analysts believe that the future prospects for the security have diminished from the original recommendation, often due to a considerable and crucial change in the company’s operations, future outlook or industry.

U.S. stocks on Monday closed mostly flat, after trading firmly higher, in a volatile session ahead of the start of a pair of closely watched central-bank policy meetings.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.02% closed down 3.63 points at 18,120.17.

The blue-chip gauge had been up by as much as 131 points earlier and traded within a 162-point range.

The S&P 500 SPX, +0.00% slipped 0.04 points to close at 2,139.12, after trading within an 18-point range

Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -0.18% declined 9.54 points, or 0.2%, to close at 5,235.03.

Earlier, the index had been up by as many as 37 points and traded with a 58-point range

Yesterday Southern First Bancshares Inc. (NASDAQ: SFST) shares last traded at $28.25, which represents a jump of $0.06 compared to the previous closing price. Opening at $28.25, they varied from $28.25 and $28.25 throughout the day.

Southern First Bancshares Inc. (NASDAQ: SFST) now has a market cap of 179.53M.

330 shares crossed the trading desk yesterday, 84 percent lower than the norm, out of a total float 4,178,000. Trading volume is likely to increase in the next few days as momentum traders often use increases in trading volume to pinpoint heavy volume accumulation or dissemination by institutional investors.

However, a single day of significant buy side trading is not enough to assert a trend. So market traders will continue to look for institutional sponsorship as an indicator that financial institutions are moving forward.

Institutional sponsorship is defined by ownership of a stock by mutual funds, banks, pension funds and other large institutions.

Institutional investors such as these retain teams of analysts that investigate thousands of stocks. So watching their interests is a good way to make sure you are buying the right stocks.

By identifying trends, moving averages allow investors to make those trends work in their favor and increase the number of successful trades.

With that in mind, Southern First Bancshares Inc. (NASDAQ: SFST) now has a 50-day MA of $27.71 and 200-day MA of $25.92. It has traded in a 52-week range between $19.01 – 31.11 and today’s last price is 0.09% lower than the 52 week high of $31.11.

Indeed, earnings growth is among the most important things to look at in regards to stock investing and, accordingly, investors identify companies that have increased their earnings at least 25% or more for 3 consecutive years.

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