Somewhat Favorable News Coverage Somewhat Unlikely to Affect First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) Stock Price

News stories about First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) have trended somewhat positive on Saturday, according to Accern Sentiment. The research firm ranks the sentiment of media coverage by analyzing more than twenty million blog and news sources. Accern ranks coverage of public companies on a scale of negative one to positive one, with scores closest to one being the most favorable. First Merchants earned a coverage optimism score of 0.09 on Accern’s scale. Accern also assigned news coverage about the bank an impact score of 45.659646326084 out of 100, meaning that recent media coverage is somewhat unlikely to have an impact on the company’s share price in the next several days.

First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) opened at $44.20 on Friday. First Merchants has a 1 year low of $35.26 and a 1 year high of $45.42. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.43, a quick ratio of 0.93 and a current ratio of 0.93. The company has a market cap of $2,156.88, a PE ratio of 20.28, a P/E/G ratio of 2.24 and a beta of 0.91.

First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last posted 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). 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 during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $97.45 million. analysts anticipate that First Merchants will post 2.26 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, December 15th. Investors of record on Friday, December 1st were paid a $0.18 dividend. This represents a $0.72 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.63%. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, November 30th. First Merchants’s payout ratio is currently 33.03%.

A number of equities analysts recently commented on the stock. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $49.00 price target on the stock in a research report on Friday. BidaskClub raised shares of First Merchants from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reaffirmed 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 reaffirmed 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 raised shares of First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Sunday, December 31st. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $47.33.

In related news, Director Michael C. Marhenke bought 2,000 shares of First Merchants stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 29th. The shares were purchased at an average price of $43.68 per share, with a total value of $87,360.00. Following the purchase, the director now owns 33,543 shares in the company, valued at $1,465,158.24. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, Director Terry L. Walker bought 3,176 shares of First Merchants stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, December 15th. The stock was bought at an average cost of $42.69 per share, for a total transaction of $135,583.44. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders purchased 5,200 shares of company stock worth $223,978. 1.41% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

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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).

Insider Buying and Selling by Quarter for First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME)

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