Keefe, Bruyette & Woods restated their buy rating on shares of First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) in a report published on Thursday, January 25th. They currently have a $52.00 price target on the bank’s stock.
A number of other equities research analysts also recently issued reports on the company. Zacks Investment Research raised First Merchants from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $49.00 price target for the company in a research report on Friday, January 12th. ValuEngine raised First Merchants from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report on Sunday, December 31st. Piper Jaffray Companies reaffirmed a neutral rating and issued a $46.00 target price on shares of First Merchants in a research report on Friday, October 6th. Finally, BidaskClub raised First Merchants from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report on Thursday, January 11th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the stock. First Merchants has an average rating of Buy and an average target price of $49.67.
First Merchants (FRME) opened at $41.48 on Thursday. The company has a market capitalization of $2,041.05, a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.57, a P/E/G ratio of 2.00 and a beta of 0.91. First Merchants has a 12 month low of $36.73 and a 12 month high of $45.42. 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 (NASDAQ:FRME) last released its earnings results on Thursday, January 25th. The bank reported $0.61 EPS for the quarter, meeting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.61. First Merchants had a return on equity of 9.95% and a net margin of 24.90%. The firm had revenue of $97.83 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $98.30 million. equities analysts predict that First Merchants will post 2.97 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, March 16th. Investors of record on Friday, March 2nd will be issued a $0.18 dividend. This represents a $0.72 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.74%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, March 1st. First Merchants’s dividend payout ratio is currently 33.96%.
In related news, President Michael C. Rechin sold 5,332 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, November 21st. The stock was sold at an average price of $41.41, for a total value of $220,798.12. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, Director Michael C. Marhenke purchased 2,000 shares of First Merchants stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 29th. The stock was acquired at an average cost of $43.68 per share, with a total value of $87,360.00. Following the acquisition, 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 purchased 5,199 shares of company stock valued at $223,938 in the last three months. 1.41% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.
A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Ramsey Quantitative Systems acquired a new stake in First Merchants during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $287,000. Brown Advisory Inc. acquired a new stake in First Merchants during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $572,000. Alpha Cubed Investments LLC acquired a new stake in First Merchants during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $421,000. Schroder Investment Management Group raised its position in shares of First Merchants by 6.0% during the 4th quarter. Schroder Investment Management Group now owns 346,394 shares of the bank’s stock worth $14,569,000 after purchasing an additional 19,732 shares during the period. Finally, Bank of New York Mellon Corp raised its position in shares of First Merchants by 21.1% during the 4th quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 944,229 shares of the bank’s stock worth $39,714,000 after purchasing an additional 164,389 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 66.85% 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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