Goelzer Investment Management Inc. Purchases Shares of 5,627 First Merchants Co. (FRME)

Goelzer Investment Management Inc. acquired a new stake in First Merchants Co. (NASDAQ:FRME) in the first quarter, according to the company in its most recent 13F filing with the SEC. The institutional investor acquired 5,627 shares of the bank’s stock, valued at approximately $207,000.

A number of other large investors have also made changes to their positions in FRME. Bank of New York Mellon Corp lifted its position in First Merchants by 0.6% during the 3rd quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 806,244 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $36,272,000 after purchasing an additional 4,917 shares during the period. JPMorgan Chase & Co. lifted its position in First Merchants by 5.3% during the 3rd quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 454,160 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $20,433,000 after purchasing an additional 22,719 shares during the period. Legal & General Group Plc lifted its position in First Merchants by 18.1% during the 3rd quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 18,221 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $820,000 after purchasing an additional 2,793 shares during the period. Morgan Stanley lifted its position in First Merchants by 46.4% during the 3rd quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 199,654 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $8,981,000 after purchasing an additional 63,278 shares during the period. Finally, Vanguard Group Inc. lifted its position in First Merchants by 1.6% during the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 4,228,154 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $190,224,000 after purchasing an additional 65,034 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 71.95% of the company’s stock.

A number of research firms have issued reports on FRME. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $44.00 target price on the stock in a research report on Monday, March 11th. BidaskClub upgraded shares of First Merchants from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, February 14th. Raymond James began coverage on shares of First Merchants in a research report on Monday, April 8th. They set an “outperform” rating and a $42.00 target price on the stock. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies set a $44.00 target price on shares of First Merchants and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, April 10th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have issued a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $44.25.

Shares of NASDAQ:FRME opened at $36.31 on Wednesday. The company has a market capitalization of $1.76 billion, a P/E ratio of 11.28, a PEG ratio of 1.52 and a beta of 0.94. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.33, a quick ratio of 0.92 and a current ratio of 0.91. First Merchants Co. has a fifty-two week low of $32.49 and a fifty-two week high of $50.44.

First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, April 25th. The bank reported $0.78 earnings per share for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.80 by ($0.02). The firm had revenue of $103.58 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $107.28 million. First Merchants had a net margin of 32.34% and a return on equity of 11.59%. On average, analysts forecast that First Merchants Co. will post 3.34 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, June 21st. Investors of record on Monday, May 20th will be given a $0.26 dividend. This represents a $1.04 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.86%. This is an increase from First Merchants’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.22. The ex-dividend date is Friday, May 17th. First Merchants’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 27.33%.

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

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