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

Analysts at Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Southern First Bancshares Inc. (NASDAQ: SFST) from Hold to Buy today. Zacks Investment Research currently has a rating of Buy on the stock. The one-year price target of $28.36 is less than the opening price of $28.95, resulting a number of other analysts to report on the stock in recent days. Looking back over the last 52 weeks, Southern First Bancshares Inc. stock has a high of $31.11. Usually, after analysts publish an upgrade report on a stock, they will later issue recurring revisions, such as a price target change.

The Fed stood pat on interest rates on Wednesday, helping stocks to mostly higher levels but Chairwoman Janet Yellen indicated an interest rate hike is likely by year’s end

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 SPX, +1.09% ended 1.1% higher, while the Dow DJIA, +0.90% jumped by 0.9%, or 164 points, as each exchange finished in positive territory for a second consecutive day.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite COMP, +1.03% tacked on 1% and scored a record closing high.

S&P 500 futures ESZ6, +0.36% were up 6.55 points, or 0.3%, to 2,162.75 early Thursday, while Dow Jones Industrial Average futures YMZ6, +0.37% rose 58 points, or 0.3%, to 18,276. Nasdaq-100 futures NQZ6, +0.39% gained 16.25 points, or 0.3%, to 4,866.25.

Yesterday Southern First Bancshares Inc. (NASDAQ: SFST) shares last traded at $28.84, which represents a decrease of $0.03 compared to the previous closing price. Opening at $28.95, they ranged from $28.66 and $29.05 throughout the day.

Southern First Bancshares Inc. (NASDAQ: SFST) currently has a market cap of 183.28M.

4,383 shares crossed the trading desk yesterday, lower than the norm, out of a total float 4,178,000. Investors often use increases in trading volume to pinpoint substantial volume growth or dissemination by institutional investors, so look for trading volume to pick up in the coming days.

While an increase in trading for short periods will not mean much, however, a trend of heavy trading volume on the buy side over a period of days or weeks delivers a positive indicator to market traders that institutions may be moving in, so institutional sponsorship is very important.

Institutional sponsorship commonly refers to ownership of a stock by mutual funds, banks, pension funds and other large institutions.

These instituitional investors retain teams of analysts that research thousands of stocks. Thus, 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 $27.85 and 200-day MA of $25.98. It has traded in a 52-week range between $19.01 – 31.11 and today’s last price is 0.07% lower than the 52 week high of $31.11.

Earnings growth is a critical factor to look at when buying stocks and investors seek companies that have raised their earnings at least 25% or more over the past 3 years.

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