Piedmont Investment Advisors LLC Sells 18,770 Shares of First Merchants Corporation (FRME)

Piedmont Investment Advisors LLC lowered its position in First Merchants Corporation (NASDAQ:FRME) by 30.3% during the third quarter, according to the company in its most recent disclosure with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The fund owned 43,190 shares of the bank’s stock after selling 18,770 shares during the period. Piedmont Investment Advisors LLC owned approximately 0.09% of First Merchants worth $1,854,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission.

Other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also recently modified their holdings of the company. Advisor Group Inc. boosted its position in First Merchants by 8.3% in the second quarter. Advisor Group Inc. now owns 2,981 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $120,000 after buying an additional 228 shares during the last quarter. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. boosted its position in First Merchants by 1.7% in the second quarter. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. now owns 3,029 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $122,000 after buying an additional 50 shares during the last quarter. Quantbot Technologies LP boosted its position in First Merchants by 2,048.6% in the 2nd quarter. Quantbot Technologies LP now owns 3,975 shares of the bank’s stock worth $159,000 after purchasing an additional 3,790 shares in the last quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. purchased a new stake in First Merchants in the 3rd quarter worth approximately $172,000. Finally, Victory Capital Management Inc. boosted its position in First Merchants by 17.6% in the 2nd quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 5,155 shares of the bank’s stock worth $207,000 after purchasing an additional 771 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 69.61% of the company’s stock.

Shares of First Merchants Corporation (NASDAQ FRME) opened at $41.89 on Friday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.43, a current ratio of 0.93 and a quick ratio of 0.93. First Merchants Corporation has a 52-week low of $35.26 and a 52-week high of $45.42. The company has a market capitalization of $2,088.57, a P/E ratio of 18.56, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.65 and a beta of 0.90.

First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 26th. The bank reported $0.50 EPS for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.55 by ($0.05). First Merchants had a return on equity of 9.56% and a net margin of 26.28%. The company had revenue of $93.09 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $97.45 million. sell-side analysts forecast that First Merchants Corporation will post 2.29 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 15th. Shareholders of record on Friday, December 1st will be given a $0.18 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, November 30th. This represents a $0.72 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.72%. First Merchants’s dividend payout ratio is presently 33.03%.

FRME has been the topic of several recent research reports. Zacks Investment Research lowered First Merchants from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, November 2nd. Piper Jaffray Companies restated a “neutral” rating and issued a $46.00 price objective on shares of First Merchants in a research report on Friday, October 6th. Finally, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods restated a “buy” rating and issued a $47.00 price objective on shares of First Merchants in a research report on Sunday, October 29th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have assigned a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $47.33.

In other news, insider Mark K. Hardwick sold 4,301 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, November 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $42.61, for a total transaction of $183,265.61. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, President Michael C. Rechin sold 5,332 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, November 21st. The stock was sold at an average price of $41.41, for a total value of $220,798.12. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders acquired 2,036 shares of company stock worth $88,908. Insiders own 1.41% of the company’s stock.

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About First Merchants

First Merchants Corporation is a financial holding company. The Company has a bank charter, First Merchants Bank (the Bank), which is opened for business in Muncie, Indiana. It operates through community banking business segment. The Bank also operates Lafayette Bank and Trust, and First Merchants Private Wealth Advisors (each as a division of First Merchants Bank).

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME)

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