Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report report published on Tuesday morning.
According to Zacks, “FIRST MERCHANTS CORP. is a bank holding company engaged in conducting commercial banking business through the offices of its banking subsidiaries. “
Other analysts also recently issued reports about the company. ValuEngine upgraded First Merchants from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Sunday, December 31st. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reiterated a buy rating and issued a $52.00 target price on shares of First Merchants in a report on Thursday, January 25th. BidaskClub upgraded shares of First Merchants from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report on Thursday, January 11th. Piper Jaffray Companies reiterated a hold rating and issued a $48.00 target price on shares of First Merchants in a report on Sunday, January 28th. Finally, FIG Partners reiterated a market-perform rating on shares of First Merchants in a report on Monday, January 29th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have issued a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the company. First Merchants currently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $49.67.
First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, January 25th. The bank reported $0.61 earnings per share for the quarter, meeting the consensus estimate of $0.61. The firm had revenue of $97.83 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $98.30 million. First Merchants had a return on equity of 9.95% and a net margin of 24.90%. research analysts anticipate that First Merchants will post 2.97 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, March 16th. Shareholders of record on Friday, March 2nd will be issued a $0.18 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, March 1st. This represents a $0.72 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.70%. First Merchants’s dividend payout ratio is presently 33.96%.
In other First Merchants news, Director Terry L. Walker purchased 3,176 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, December 15th. The shares were acquired at an average price of $42.69 per share, for a total transaction of $135,583.44. The acquisition was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Insiders have bought 3,199 shares of company stock worth $136,578 in the last 90 days. Insiders own 1.41% of the company’s stock.
Hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. Commonwealth Equity Services Inc purchased a new stake in shares of First Merchants during the third quarter worth about $472,000. Vanguard Group Inc. grew its stake in shares of First Merchants by 6.7% during the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 1,906,637 shares of the bank’s stock worth $76,533,000 after acquiring an additional 119,583 shares during the last quarter. OLD National Bancorp IN purchased a new stake in shares of First Merchants during the third quarter worth about $1,993,000. First Merchants Corp grew its stake in shares of First Merchants by 624.9% during the third quarter. First Merchants Corp now owns 199,976 shares of the bank’s stock worth $8,585,000 after acquiring an additional 172,389 shares during the last quarter. Finally, USA Financial Portformulas Corp purchased a new stake in shares of First Merchants during the third quarter worth about $538,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 68.87% of the company’s stock.
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First Merchants Company 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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