First Merchants Corporation (NASDAQ:FRME) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued on Monday.

According to Zacks, “FIRST MERCHANTS CORP. is a bank holding company engaged in conducting commercial banking business through the offices of its banking subsidiaries. “

Several other brokerages have also recently commented on FRME. Piper Jaffray Companies reissued a “hold” rating on shares of First Merchants Corporation in a research report on Thursday, August 3rd. BidaskClub downgraded shares of First Merchants Corporation from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Thursday, July 27th. One 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. The company has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $43.50.

First Merchants Corporation (FRME) traded up 1.89% on Monday, reaching $43.74. 247,526 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged. The stock has a market cap of $2.15 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.97 and a beta of 0.94. First Merchants Corporation has a one year low of $25.84 and a one year high of $43.74. The firm has a 50 day moving average of $39.67 and a 200-day moving average of $39.99.

First Merchants Corporation (NASDAQ:FRME) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 27th. The bank reported $0.57 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.55 by $0.02. First Merchants Corporation had a net margin of 27.04% and a return on equity of 9.63%. The firm had revenue of $81.53 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $78.75 million. Equities research analysts forecast that First Merchants Corporation will post $2.32 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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In other news, insider Mark K. Hardwick sold 1,851 shares of First Merchants Corporation stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, August 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $39.69, for a total value of $73,466.19. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 75,120 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,981,512.80. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. 1.41% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in FRME. Cornerstone Capital Management Holdings LLC. acquired a new stake in First Merchants Corporation in the first quarter valued at approximately $115,000. Advisor Group Inc. lifted its stake in First Merchants Corporation by 8.3% in the second quarter. Advisor Group Inc. now owns 2,981 shares of the bank’s stock worth $120,000 after acquiring an additional 228 shares during the last quarter. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. lifted its stake in First Merchants Corporation by 1.7% in the second quarter. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. now owns 3,029 shares of the bank’s stock worth $122,000 after acquiring an additional 50 shares during the last quarter. Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. purchased a new position in First Merchants Corporation in the first quarter worth approximately $138,000. Finally, Meeder Asset Management Inc. lifted its stake in First Merchants Corporation by 5.7% in the first quarter. Meeder Asset Management Inc. now owns 3,538 shares of the bank’s stock worth $139,000 after acquiring an additional 190 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 67.45% of the company’s stock.

About First Merchants Corporation

First Merchants Corporation is a financial holding company. The Company has a bank charter, First Merchants Bank (the Bank), which is opened for business in Muncie, Indiana. It operates through community banking business segment. The Bank also operates Lafayette Bank and Trust, and First Merchants Private Wealth Advisors (each as a division of First Merchants Bank).

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