Equities research analysts expect that First Merchants Co. (NASDAQ:FRME) will report $98.35 million in sales for the current fiscal quarter, Zacks Investment Research reports. Two analysts have made estimates for First Merchants’ earnings, with estimates ranging from $95.20 million to $101.50 million. First Merchants posted sales of $75.85 million in the same quarter last year, which would indicate a positive year over year growth rate of 29.7%. The business is scheduled to report its next earnings results on Thursday, April 26th.
On average, analysts expect that First Merchants will report full year sales of $407.40 million for the current year, with estimates ranging from $398.80 million to $416.00 million. For the next financial year, analysts expect that the business will post sales of $438.55 million per share, with estimates ranging from $424.40 million to $452.70 million. Zacks’ sales averages are an average based on a survey of research analysts that that provide coverage for First Merchants.
First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, January 25th. The bank reported $0.61 earnings per share for the quarter, hitting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.61. The firm had revenue of $97.83 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $98.30 million. First Merchants had a net margin of 24.90% and a return on equity of 9.47%.
Several analysts have weighed in on FRME shares. Piper Jaffray reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $48.00 price objective on shares of First Merchants in a research note on Sunday, January 28th. BidaskClub cut shares of First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Thursday, January 4th. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Thursday, March 29th. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $52.00 price objective on shares of First Merchants in a research note on Thursday, January 25th. Finally, ValuEngine raised shares of First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Sunday, December 31st. One 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’s stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $49.67.
In other news, insider Michael J. Stewart sold 2,219 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, February 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $42.60, for a total transaction of $94,529.40. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 55,706 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,373,075.60. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Insiders have acquired 63 shares of company stock worth $2,661 over the last ninety days. Insiders own 1.41% of the company’s stock.
Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. HBK Investments L P grew its stake in shares of First Merchants by 9.8% during the fourth quarter. HBK Investments L P now owns 16,800 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $707,000 after purchasing an additional 1,500 shares during the last quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System grew its stake in shares of First Merchants by 1.3% during the fourth quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 131,665 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $5,538,000 after purchasing an additional 1,753 shares during the last quarter. American International Group Inc. grew its stake in shares of First Merchants by 8.1% during the third quarter. American International Group Inc. now owns 27,481 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $1,180,000 after purchasing an additional 2,055 shares during the last quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. grew its stake in shares of First Merchants by 4.2% during the fourth quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. now owns 54,500 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $2,292,000 after purchasing an additional 2,200 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Macquarie Group Ltd. bought a new stake in shares of First Merchants during the third quarter valued at approximately $172,000. 70.08% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
Shares of First Merchants stock opened at $41.91 on Friday. The company has a current ratio of 0.93, a quick ratio of 0.93 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.42. The stock has a market cap of $2,061.92, a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.39, a PEG ratio of 2.01 and a beta of 0.91. First Merchants has a 1-year low of $37.03 and a 1-year high of $45.42.
The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, March 16th. Shareholders of record on Friday, March 2nd were paid a dividend of $0.18 per share. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, March 1st. This represents a $0.72 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.72%. First Merchants’s dividend payout ratio is 29.88%.
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First Merchants Company Profile
First Merchants Corporation operates as the financial holding company for First Merchants Bank that provides community banking services. It accepts time, savings, and demand deposits; and provides consumer, commercial, agri-business, and real estate mortgage loans, as well as rents safe deposit facilities.
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