Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report issued on Thursday.
According to Zacks, “FIRST MERCHANTS CORP. is a bank holding company engaged in conducting commercial banking business through the offices of its banking subsidiaries. “
Several other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports on the stock. BidaskClub cut shares of First Merchants from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note on Thursday, January 25th. Piper Jaffray reaffirmed a hold rating and set a $48.00 price target on shares of First Merchants in a research note on Sunday, January 28th. FIG Partners reaffirmed a market-perform rating on shares of First Merchants in a research note on Monday, January 29th. Finally, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reaffirmed a buy rating and set a $52.00 price target on shares of First Merchants in a research note on Thursday, January 25th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average price target of $50.33.
First Merchants opened at $45.27 on Thursday, Marketbeat.com reports. First Merchants has a 12-month low of $37.09 and a 12-month high of $45.54. The stock has a market cap of $2.24 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.89, a PEG ratio of 2.13 and a beta of 0.90. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.45, a quick ratio of 0.93 and a current ratio of 0.93.
First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, April 26th. The bank reported $0.74 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.70 by $0.04. First Merchants had a net margin of 26.33% and a return on equity of 9.82%. The company had revenue of $99.48 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $98.35 million. equities research analysts expect that First Merchants will post 3.04 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, June 15th. Shareholders of record on Friday, June 1st will be paid a dividend of $0.22 per share. This is a boost from First Merchants’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.18. This represents a $0.88 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.94%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, May 31st. First Merchants’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 29.88%.
In related news, insider Mark K. Hardwick sold 4,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, May 4th. The shares were sold at an average price of $43.91, for a total value of $197,595.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, insider Michele Kawiecki sold 600 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, May 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $44.42, for a total transaction of $26,652.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders purchased 90 shares of company stock worth $3,836 and sold 7,319 shares worth $318,776. 1.41% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.
Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in FRME. Cardinal Capital Management LLC CT raised its holdings in First Merchants by 1,533.9% in the fourth quarter. Cardinal Capital Management LLC CT now owns 1,089,837 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $45,838,000 after buying an additional 1,023,137 shares during the period. Kennedy Capital Management Inc. raised its holdings in First Merchants by 130.9% in the fourth quarter. Kennedy Capital Management Inc. now owns 393,935 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $16,569,000 after buying an additional 223,293 shares during the period. Millennium Management LLC raised its holdings in First Merchants by 1,624.7% in the first quarter. Millennium Management LLC now owns 215,500 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $8,986,000 after buying an additional 203,005 shares during the period. Bank of New York Mellon Corp raised its holdings in First Merchants by 21.1% in the fourth quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 944,229 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $39,714,000 after buying an additional 164,389 shares during the period. Finally, Allianz Asset Management GmbH raised its holdings in First Merchants by 94.4% in the fourth quarter. Allianz Asset Management GmbH now owns 293,659 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $12,351,000 after buying an additional 142,589 shares during the period. 70.27% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
First Merchants Company Profile
First Merchants Corporation operates as the financial holding company for First Merchants Bank that provides community banking services. It accepts time, savings, and demand deposits; and provides consumer, commercial, agri-business, and real estate mortgage loans, as well as rents safe deposit facilities.
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