First Merchants Corp. (FRME) Raised to Buy at Zacks Investment Research
First Merchants Corp. (NASDAQ:FRME) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued on Monday. The firm presently has a $37.00 target price on the stock. Zacks Investment Research’s target price suggests a potential upside of 11.04% from the stock’s current price.
According to Zacks, “FIRST MERCHANTS CORP. is a bank holding company engaged in conducting commercial banking business through the offices of its banking subsidiaries. “
FRME has been the subject of a number of other research reports. DA Davidson boosted their price objective on First Merchants Corp. from $29.00 to $30.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, September 28th. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods boosted their price objective on First Merchants Corp. from $27.00 to $28.50 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 27th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the company. First Merchants Corp. presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $29.90.
First Merchants Corp. (NASDAQ:FRME) traded down 1.91% during midday trading on Monday, reaching $33.32. The company had a trading volume of 87,843 shares. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $28.55 and its 200 day moving average is $26.64. First Merchants Corp. has a one year low of $21.10 and a one year high of $34.00. The company has a market capitalization of $1.36 billion, a PE ratio of 18.45 and a beta of 0.99.
First Merchants Corp. (NASDAQ:FRME) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, October 25th. The company reported $0.51 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.49 by $0.02. First Merchants Corp. had a return on equity of 8.32% and a net margin of 23.59%. Equities research analysts forecast that First Merchants Corp. will post $1.93 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 16th. Stockholders of record on Friday, December 2nd will be given a $0.15 dividend. This represents a $0.60 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.80%. This is an increase from First Merchants Corp.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.14. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, November 30th. First Merchants Corp.’s payout ratio is presently 31.11%.
In other First Merchants Corp. news, insider Michael J. Stewart sold 3,500 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $27.24, for a total transaction of $95,340.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. 1.62% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.
A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Victory Capital Management Inc. increased its position in shares of First Merchants Corp. by 77.4% in the second quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 5,562 shares of the company’s stock valued at $139,000 after buying an additional 2,426 shares in the last quarter. SG Americas Securities LLC purchased a new position in shares of First Merchants Corp. during the third quarter valued at approximately $228,000. HighPoint Advisor Group LLC purchased a new position in shares of First Merchants Corp. during the third quarter valued at approximately $235,000. Citadel Advisors LLC purchased a new position in shares of First Merchants Corp. during the third quarter valued at approximately $242,000. Finally, BlackRock Inc. increased its position in shares of First Merchants Corp. by 344.6% in the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 11,076 shares of the company’s stock valued at $276,000 after buying an additional 8,585 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 76.37% of the company’s stock.
First Merchants Corp. Company Profile
First Merchants Corporation is a financial holding Company. The Company has a bank charter, First Merchants Bank, National Association (the Bank), which is opened for business in Muncie, Indiana. The Bank also operates Lafayette Bank and Trust, Ameriana Bank, Ameriana Financial Services and First Merchants Trust Company as divisions of First Merchants Bank, N.A.
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