First Merchants Corp. (NASDAQ:FRME) insider Mark K. Hardwick sold 7,700 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, November 18th. The shares were sold at an average price of $33.14, for a total transaction of $255,178.00. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website.

First Merchants Corp. (NASDAQ:FRME) opened at 34.17 on Thursday. The stock has a market capitalization of $1.39 billion, a P/E ratio of 18.92 and a beta of 0.99. The company has a 50 day moving average of $28.96 and a 200-day moving average of $26.76. First Merchants Corp. has a 52-week low of $21.10 and a 52-week high of $34.28.

First Merchants Corp. (NASDAQ:FRME) last released its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, October 25th. The company reported $0.51 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.49 by $0.02. First Merchants Corp. had a net margin of 23.59% and a return on equity of 8.32%. Equities research analysts anticipate that First Merchants Corp. will post $1.93 EPS for the current year.

Insider Buying and Selling by Quarter for First Merchants Corp. (NASDAQ:FRME)

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 16th. Shareholders of record on Friday, December 2nd will be paid a dividend of $0.15 per share. This is an increase from First Merchants Corp.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.14. This represents a $0.60 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.76%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, November 30th. First Merchants Corp.’s payout ratio is currently 31.11%.

A number of large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in FRME. Victory Capital Management Inc. increased its stake in 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 acquired a new stake in First Merchants Corp. during the third quarter valued at about $228,000. HighPoint Advisor Group LLC acquired a new stake in First Merchants Corp. during the third quarter valued at about $235,000. Citadel Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in First Merchants Corp. during the third quarter valued at about $242,000. Finally, BlackRock Inc. increased its stake in 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 own 76.37% of the company’s stock.

A number of brokerages have recently weighed in on FRME. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of First Merchants Corp. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $37.00 price objective on the stock in a report on Monday. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods raised their price objective on shares of First Merchants Corp. from $27.00 to $28.50 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 27th. Finally, DA Davidson raised their price objective on shares of First Merchants Corp. from $29.00 to $30.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, September 28th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and four have issued a buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $29.90.

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About First Merchants Corp.

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.

5 Day Chart for NASDAQ:FRME

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