Media stories about First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) have been trending somewhat positive on Thursday, according to Accern Sentiment Analysis. The research firm identifies positive and negative media coverage by analyzing more than 20 million blog and news sources. Accern ranks coverage of companies on a scale of -1 to 1, with scores nearest to one being the most favorable. First Merchants earned a coverage optimism score of 0.10 on Accern’s scale. Accern also gave media headlines about the bank an impact score of 46.7688014857096 out of 100, meaning that recent media coverage is somewhat unlikely to have an effect on the company’s share price in the next several days.
First Merchants (NASDAQ FRME) traded up $0.99 on Thursday, hitting $42.36. The stock had a trading volume of 120,500 shares, compared to its average volume of 166,989. First Merchants has a fifty-two week low of $36.73 and a fifty-two week high of $45.42. The company has a quick ratio of 0.93, a current ratio of 0.93 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.43. The company has a market cap of $2,033.68, a P/E ratio of 19.98, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.99 and a beta of 0.91.
First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, January 25th. The bank reported $0.61 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, hitting analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.61. First Merchants had a return on equity of 9.95% and a net margin of 24.90%. The business had revenue of $97.83 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $98.30 million. equities analysts forecast that First Merchants will post 2.97 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, March 16th. Stockholders of record on Friday, March 2nd will be given a dividend of $0.18 per share. This represents a $0.72 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.70%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, March 1st. First Merchants’s payout ratio is 33.96%.
FRME has been the topic of several research analyst reports. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $47.00 price objective on shares of First Merchants in a research report on Sunday, October 29th. Zacks Investment Research raised 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 Monday, October 30th. ValuEngine raised First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Sunday, December 31st. BidaskClub downgraded First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Thursday, January 4th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $48.00 price objective on shares of First Merchants in a research report on Sunday, January 28th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $49.67.
In other news, Director Terry L. Walker purchased 3,176 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, December 15th. The shares were acquired at an average price of $42.69 per share, with a total value of $135,583.44. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, President Michael C. Rechin sold 5,332 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, November 21st. The stock was 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. Insiders have bought a total of 5,199 shares of company stock worth $223,938 in the last three months. Corporate insiders own 1.41% 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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