First Merchants Co. (FRME) Position Boosted by Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc.

Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. increased its holdings in shares of First Merchants Co. (NASDAQ:FRME) by 5.6% during the third quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm owned 186,676 shares of the bank’s stock after acquiring an additional 9,935 shares during the quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. owned approximately 0.38% of First Merchants worth $8,015,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

A number of other institutional investors have also modified their holdings of FRME. Rhumbline Advisers lifted its holdings in First Merchants by 2.2% during the second quarter. Rhumbline Advisers now owns 51,419 shares of the bank’s stock worth $2,064,000 after acquiring an additional 1,111 shares during the period. Bank of New York Mellon Corp raised its stake in shares of First Merchants by 33.9% in the second quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 796,732 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $31,981,000 after buying an additional 201,723 shares during the period. Legal & General Group Plc raised its stake in shares of First Merchants by 2.7% in the second quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 15,386 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $618,000 after buying an additional 405 shares during the period. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA raised its stake in shares of First Merchants by 1,648.4% in the second quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 5,630 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $226,000 after buying an additional 5,308 shares during the period. Finally, Federated Investors Inc. PA raised its stake in shares of First Merchants by 1.0% in the second quarter. Federated Investors Inc. PA now owns 61,098 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $2,452,000 after buying an additional 589 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 69.15% of the company’s stock.

Shares of First Merchants Co. (NASDAQ:FRME) opened at $43.02 on Thursday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.43, a current ratio of 0.93 and a quick ratio of 0.93. First Merchants Co. has a one year low of $35.26 and a one year high of $45.42. The stock has a market capitalization of $2,070.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.73, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.21 and a beta of 0.91.

First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last released its quarterly earnings data 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). First Merchants had a net margin of 26.28% and a return on equity of 9.56%. The company had revenue of $93.09 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $97.45 million. equities research analysts predict that First Merchants Co. will post 2.26 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, December 15th. Investors of record on Friday, December 1st were paid a dividend of $0.18 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, November 30th. This represents a $0.72 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.67%. First Merchants’s payout ratio is 33.03%.

In related news, Director Terry L. Walker acquired 3,176 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, December 15th. The shares were bought at an average cost of $42.69 per share, for a total transaction of $135,583.44. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, President Michael C. Rechin sold 5,332 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, November 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $41.41, for a total value of $220,798.12. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders have purchased 5,200 shares of company stock worth $223,978. 1.41% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

FRME has been the topic of several research reports. Zacks Investment Research upgraded First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $49.00 target price on the stock in a research note on Monday, October 30th. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods restated a “buy” rating and issued a $47.00 target price on shares of First Merchants in a research note on Sunday, October 29th. ValuEngine upgraded First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Sunday, December 31st. Piper Jaffray Companies restated a “neutral” rating and issued a $46.00 target price on shares of First Merchants in a research note on Friday, October 6th. Finally, BidaskClub lowered First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Thursday, January 4th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have assigned a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. First Merchants currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $47.33.

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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).

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME)

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