Millennium Management LLC Decreases Holdings in First Merchants Co. (FRME)

Millennium Management LLC reduced its holdings in shares of First Merchants Co. (NASDAQ:FRME) by 35.1% in the 2nd quarter, HoldingsChannel.com reports. The institutional investor owned 139,876 shares of the bank’s stock after selling 75,624 shares during the period. Millennium Management LLC’s holdings in First Merchants were worth $6,490,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

A number of other institutional investors and hedge funds have also added to or reduced their stakes in the business. BlackRock Inc. grew its stake in First Merchants by 14.8% during the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 3,310,039 shares of the bank’s stock worth $153,587,000 after buying an additional 425,522 shares during the period. Vaughan Nelson Investment Management L.P. grew its stake in First Merchants by 0.8% during the second quarter. Vaughan Nelson Investment Management L.P. now owns 1,828,622 shares of the bank’s stock worth $84,848,000 after buying an additional 14,275 shares during the period. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company grew its stake in First Merchants by 1.2% during the first quarter. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company now owns 1,023,718 shares of the bank’s stock worth $42,689,000 after buying an additional 12,140 shares during the period. Northern Trust Corp grew its stake in First Merchants by 0.3% during the first quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 992,467 shares of the bank’s stock worth $41,386,000 after buying an additional 3,146 shares during the period. Finally, Bank of New York Mellon Corp grew its stake in First Merchants by 2.3% during the second quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 801,327 shares of the bank’s stock worth $37,181,000 after buying an additional 18,195 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 70.33% of the company’s stock.

In other news, Director Michael C. Marhenke sold 26,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, August 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $49.14, for a total transaction of $1,277,640.00. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 30,294 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,488,647.16. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, President Michael C. Rechin sold 15,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Monday, August 20th. The stock was sold at an average price of $48.63, for a total transaction of $729,450.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders have bought 81 shares of company stock worth $3,860. Corporate insiders own 1.29% of the company’s stock.

NASDAQ FRME opened at $42.93 on Friday. First Merchants Co. has a 52 week low of $37.60 and a 52 week high of $50.44. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.45, a quick ratio of 0.93 and a current ratio of 0.93. The firm has a market cap of $2.23 billion, a PE ratio of 17.81, a PEG ratio of 2.03 and a beta of 0.84.

First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last posted its earnings results on Wednesday, July 25th. The bank reported $0.80 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.75 by $0.05. First Merchants had a net margin of 28.09% and a return on equity of 10.44%. The business had revenue of $102.76 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $101.57 million. As a group, equities research analysts anticipate that First Merchants Co. will post 3.16 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, September 21st. Stockholders of record on Friday, September 7th were given a dividend of $0.22 per share. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, September 6th. This represents a $0.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.05%. First Merchants’s payout ratio is currently 36.51%.

Several equities research analysts have issued reports on FRME shares. BidaskClub upgraded shares of First Merchants from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research note on Friday, June 22nd. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of First Merchants from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Monday, July 2nd. Finally, Stephens downgraded shares of First Merchants from an “overweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Monday, July 30th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have given a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $49.67.

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

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