BidaskClub upgraded shares of First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note released on Friday.
Other research analysts have also recently issued research reports about the company. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reaffirmed a buy rating and issued a $52.00 price target on shares of First Merchants in a report on Thursday, January 25th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of 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 upgraded shares of First Merchants from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report on Sunday, December 31st. Piper Jaffray Companies reiterated a hold rating and set a $48.00 price objective on shares of First Merchants in a research report on Sunday, January 28th. Finally, FIG Partners reiterated a market-perform rating on shares of First Merchants in a research report on Monday, January 29th. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. First Merchants presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $49.67.
First Merchants (FRME) opened at $44.25 on Friday. The stock has a market capitalization of $2,189.71, a price-to-earnings ratio of 20.86, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.13 and a beta of 0.93. First Merchants has a twelve month low of $36.73 and a twelve month high of $45.42. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.42, a current ratio of 0.93 and a quick ratio of 0.93.
The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, March 16th. Shareholders of record on Friday, March 2nd will be given a dividend of $0.18 per share. This represents a $0.72 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.63%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, March 1st. First Merchants’s payout ratio is 33.96%.
In other First Merchants news, insider Michael J. Stewart sold 2,219 shares of First Merchants stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, February 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $42.60, for a total transaction of $94,529.40. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 55,706 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,373,075.60. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Director Terry L. Walker acquired 3,176 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, December 15th. The shares were purchased at an average price of $42.69 per share, for a total transaction of $135,583.44. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders have acquired 3,227 shares of company stock worth $137,744. Corporate insiders own 1.41% of the company’s stock.
Institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Macquarie Group Ltd. purchased a new position in shares of First Merchants during the 3rd quarter valued at $172,000. Hamilton Capital Management Inc. purchased a new position in shares of First Merchants during the 4th quarter valued at $215,000. Ullmann Financial Group Inc. purchased a new position in shares of First Merchants during the 4th quarter valued at $235,000. Trexquant Investment LP purchased a new position in shares of First Merchants during the 3rd quarter valued at $243,000. Finally, Xact Kapitalforvaltning AB purchased a new position in shares of First Merchants during the 4th quarter valued at $257,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 70.10% 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).
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