Schroder Investment Management Group lifted its stake in shares of First Merchants Co. (NASDAQ:FRME) by 6.0% during the 4th quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The institutional investor owned 346,394 shares of the bank’s stock after buying an additional 19,732 shares during the period. Schroder Investment Management Group’s holdings in First Merchants were worth $14,569,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.
Other large investors also recently made changes to their positions in the company. Commonwealth Equity Services Inc purchased a new position in shares of First Merchants during the third quarter valued at approximately $472,000. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its position in First Merchants by 6.7% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 1,906,637 shares of the bank’s stock worth $76,533,000 after purchasing an additional 119,583 shares during the last quarter. OLD National Bancorp IN purchased a new position in First Merchants in the third quarter worth $1,993,000. First Merchants Corp boosted its position in First Merchants by 624.9% in the third quarter. First Merchants Corp now owns 199,976 shares of the bank’s stock worth $8,585,000 after purchasing an additional 172,389 shares during the last quarter. Finally, USA Financial Portformulas Corp purchased a new position in First Merchants in the third quarter worth $538,000. 68.87% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.
In other news, Director Terry L. Walker purchased 3,176 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, December 15th. The shares were purchased at an average price of $42.69 per share, with a total value of $135,583.44. The purchase was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, Director Michael C. Marhenke purchased 2,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, November 29th. The shares were purchased at an average cost of $43.68 per share, for a total transaction of $87,360.00. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 33,543 shares in the company, valued at $1,465,158.24. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders have bought a total of 5,199 shares of company stock worth $223,938 in the last ninety days. Insiders own 1.41% of the company’s stock.
First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, January 25th. The bank reported $0.61 earnings per share for the quarter, hitting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.61. First Merchants had a return on equity of 9.95% and a net margin of 24.90%. The business had revenue of $97.83 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $98.30 million. equities analysts expect that First Merchants Co. will post 2.97 EPS for the current year.
The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, March 16th. Stockholders of record on Friday, March 2nd will be given a dividend of $0.18 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, March 1st. This represents a $0.72 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.69%. First Merchants’s dividend payout ratio is presently 33.96%.
Several research analysts have weighed in on FRME shares. Zacks Investment Research raised First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $49.00 price objective on the stock in a research report on Friday, January 12th. ValuEngine raised First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Sunday, December 31st. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $47.00 price objective on shares of First Merchants in a research report on Sunday, October 29th. BidaskClub raised First Merchants from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, January 11th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $48.00 price objective on shares of First Merchants in a research report on Sunday, January 28th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the stock. First Merchants presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $49.67.
First Merchants Profile
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).
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