First Merchants Corp. (NASDAQ:FRME) had its price objective raised by DA Davidson from $29.00 to $30.00 in a report issued on Wednesday. The firm currently has a “buy” rating on the stock. DA Davidson’s target price would suggest a potential upside of 12.91% from the stock’s previous close.
Several other equities analysts have also weighed in on FRME. Zacks Investment Research raised First Merchants Corp. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $28.00 target price on the stock in a research note on Monday, June 13th. Piper Jaffray Cos. assumed coverage on First Merchants Corp. in a research note on Monday, July 11th. They issued a “neutral” rating and a $27.00 target price on the stock. Finally, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods increased their target price on First Merchants Corp. from $27.00 to $28.50 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research note on Wednesday, July 27th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $28.10.
First Merchants Corp. (NASDAQ:FRME) traded up 0.34% during mid-day trading on Wednesday, reaching $26.66. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 7,577 shares. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $26.98 and its 200 day moving average is $25.40. First Merchants Corp. has a 12 month low of $21.10 and a 12 month high of $27.60. The company has a market cap of $1.09 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 15.29 and a beta of 1.06.
First Merchants Corp. (NASDAQ:FRME) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, July 26th. The company reported $0.49 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.46 by $0.03. First Merchants Corp. had a return on equity of 8.18% and a net margin of 22.88%. Equities research analysts predict that First Merchants Corp. will post $1.90 EPS for the current year.
The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, September 16th. Stockholders of record on Friday, September 2nd were given a dividend of $0.14 per share. This represents a $0.56 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.11%. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, August 31st. First Merchants Corp.’s dividend payout ratio is currently 32.18%.
In other news, insider Michael J. Stewart sold 3,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 25th. The stock was sold at an average price of $27.24, for a total transaction of $95,340.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, insider John Martin sold 5,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 18th. The stock was sold at an average price of $26.92, for a total value of $134,600.00. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 31,921 shares in the company, valued at approximately $859,313.32. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 1.62% of the company’s stock.
Large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Emerald Acquisition Ltd. acquired a new stake in First Merchants Corp. during the second quarter worth approximately $9,432,000. Lord Abbett & CO. LLC raised its stake in shares of First Merchants Corp. by 19.4% in the second quarter. Lord Abbett & CO. LLC now owns 1,312,206 shares of the company’s stock worth $32,713,000 after buying an additional 213,600 shares in the last quarter. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. raised its stake in shares of First Merchants Corp. by 16.0% in the first quarter. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. now owns 1,410,785 shares of the company’s stock worth $33,252,000 after buying an additional 194,382 shares in the last quarter. Vaughan Nelson Investment Management L.P. raised its stake in shares of First Merchants Corp. by 8.3% in the second quarter. Vaughan Nelson Investment Management L.P. now owns 1,934,850 shares of the company’s stock worth $48,236,000 after buying an additional 149,000 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Boston Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in shares of First Merchants Corp. during the second quarter worth about $3,498,000. 75.24% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.
About First Merchants Corp.
First Merchants Corporation is a financial holding Company. The Company has a bank charter, First Merchants Bank, National Association (the Bank), which is opened for business in Muncie, Indiana. The Bank also operates Lafayette Bank and Trust, Ameriana Bank, Ameriana Financial Services and First Merchants Trust Company as divisions of First Merchants Bank, N.A.
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