News stories about First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) have been trending somewhat positive on Thursday, according to Accern. The research firm identifies positive and negative news coverage by analyzing more than 20 million blog and news sources. Accern ranks coverage of public companies on a scale of negative one to one, with scores nearest to one being the most favorable. First Merchants earned a media sentiment score of 0.13 on Accern’s scale. Accern also assigned media stories about the bank an impact score of 45.9649340050222 out of 100, meaning that recent news coverage is somewhat unlikely to have an effect on the company’s share price in the near future.
A number of research firms recently issued reports on FRME. BidaskClub lowered First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Thursday, January 4th. Zacks Investment Research lowered First Merchants from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, October 2nd. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $47.00 price target on shares of First Merchants in a research report on Sunday, October 29th. Piper Jaffray Companies reiterated a “neutral” rating and set a $46.00 price target on shares of First Merchants in a research report on Friday, October 6th. Finally, ValuEngine upgraded First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Sunday, December 31st. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have given a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the company. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $47.33.
First Merchants (FRME) traded up $0.87 on Thursday, hitting $43.89. The stock had a trading volume of 190,115 shares, compared to its average volume of 235,877. The company has a market cap of $2,160.00, a P/E ratio of 20.13, a PEG ratio of 2.21 and a beta of 0.91. The company has a quick ratio of 0.93, a current ratio of 0.93 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.43. First Merchants has a 12 month low of $35.26 and a 12 month high of $45.42.
First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The bank reported $0.50 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.55 by ($0.05). The company had revenue of $93.09 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $97.45 million. First Merchants had a return on equity of 9.56% and a net margin of 26.28%. research analysts expect that First Merchants will post 2.26 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, December 15th. Investors of record on Friday, December 1st were given a dividend of $0.18 per share. This represents a $0.72 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.64%. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, November 30th. First Merchants’s payout ratio is 33.03%.
In other First Merchants news, Director Terry L. Walker purchased 3,176 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, December 15th. The shares were purchased at an average cost of $42.69 per share, with a total value of $135,583.44. The acquisition was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Director Michael C. Marhenke purchased 2,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 29th. The shares were acquired at an average cost of $43.68 per share, for a total transaction of $87,360.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 33,543 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,465,158.24. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders have purchased 5,200 shares of company stock worth $223,978 over the last three months. 1.41% of the stock is owned by insiders.
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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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