Equities research analysts expect that First Merchants Co. (NASDAQ:FRME) will announce earnings per share of $0.82 for the current quarter, according to Zacks Investment Research. Three analysts have issued estimates for First Merchants’ earnings. The highest EPS estimate is $0.85 and the lowest is $0.80. First Merchants posted earnings per share of $0.61 in the same quarter last year, which indicates a positive year over year growth rate of 34.4%. The business is scheduled to issue its next earnings results on Thursday, January 24th.

On average, analysts expect that First Merchants will report full-year earnings of $3.18 per share for the current fiscal year, with EPS estimates ranging from $3.15 to $3.22. For the next financial year, analysts forecast that the company will report earnings of $3.40 per share, with EPS estimates ranging from $3.29 to $3.52. Zacks Investment Research’s earnings per share averages are an average based on a survey of sell-side research firms that follow First Merchants.

First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, October 24th. The bank reported $0.83 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.80 by $0.03. First Merchants had a return on equity of 11.24% and a net margin of 30.43%. The firm had revenue of $106.01 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $104.90 million.

A number of equities research analysts have commented on FRME shares. ValuEngine lowered First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Monday, October 22nd. Piper Jaffray Companies set a $47.00 price target on First Merchants and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, October 26th. Zacks Investment Research lowered First Merchants from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, October 1st. Finally, BidaskClub lowered First Merchants from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Saturday, August 25th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have given a hold rating and one has given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $49.33.

In related news, Director Michael C. Marhenke sold 26,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, August 21st. The stock was sold at an average price of $49.14, for a total transaction of $1,277,640.00. Following the sale, the director now owns 30,294 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,488,647.16. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, President Michael C. Rechin sold 15,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, August 20th. The shares were sold at an average price of $48.63, for a total value of $729,450.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders acquired a total of 86 shares of company stock worth $3,849 in the last quarter. Corporate insiders own 1.29% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. BlackRock Inc. boosted its position in shares of First Merchants by 2.9% during the 3rd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 3,405,681 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $153,223,000 after purchasing an additional 95,642 shares in the last quarter. Vaughan Nelson Investment Management L.P. boosted its position in shares of First Merchants by 0.8% during the 2nd quarter. Vaughan Nelson Investment Management L.P. now owns 1,828,622 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $84,848,000 after purchasing an additional 14,275 shares in the last quarter. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company boosted its position in shares of First Merchants by 3.1% during the 3rd quarter. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company now owns 1,072,589 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $48,256,000 after purchasing an additional 31,915 shares in the last quarter. Northern Trust Corp boosted its position in shares of First Merchants by 8.0% during the 2nd quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 1,071,486 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $49,717,000 after purchasing an additional 79,019 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Bank of New York Mellon Corp boosted its position in shares of 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 in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 70.78% of the company’s stock.

NASDAQ FRME opened at $40.42 on Monday. First Merchants has a 12 month low of $39.24 and a 12 month high of $50.44. The stock has a market capitalization of $2.04 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 16.77, a P/E/G ratio of 1.85 and a beta of 0.85. 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 business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 21st. Shareholders of record on Friday, December 7th will be given a $0.22 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, December 6th. This represents a $0.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.18%. First Merchants’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 36.51%.

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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Earnings History and Estimates for First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME)

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