Wall Street analysts forecast that First Merchants Co. (NASDAQ:FRME) will report earnings per share (EPS) of $0.77 for the current fiscal quarter, Zacks Investment Research reports. Four analysts have made estimates for First Merchants’ earnings, with the lowest EPS estimate coming in at $0.64 and the highest estimate coming in at $0.83. First Merchants posted earnings of $0.83 per share in the same quarter last year, which suggests a negative year-over-year growth rate of 7.2%. The firm is scheduled to report its next earnings results on Wednesday, October 23rd.

According to Zacks, analysts expect that First Merchants will report full year earnings of $3.22 per share for the current year, with EPS estimates ranging from $3.02 to $3.32. For the next fiscal year, analysts anticipate that the company will report earnings of $3.41 per share, with EPS estimates ranging from $3.32 to $3.61. Zacks’ EPS averages are an average based on a survey of research analysts that follow First Merchants.

First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 25th. The bank reported $0.83 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.80 by $0.03. First Merchants had a return on equity of 11.36% and a net margin of 31.66%. The business had revenue of $106.89 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $109.10 million.

Several research firms recently issued reports on FRME. ValuEngine upgraded First Merchants from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, August 1st. Hovde Group started coverage on shares of First Merchants in a research note on Wednesday, May 22nd. They issued a “market perform” rating and a $39.00 target price for the company. Stephens raised First Merchants from an “equal weight” rating to an “overweight” rating and set a $44.00 price target on the stock in a research report on Tuesday, July 9th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research raised First Merchants from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the stock. First Merchants has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $43.33.

FRME stock traded up $1.15 during midday trading on Friday, hitting $39.26. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 195,216 shares, compared to its average volume of 209,384. The company’s fifty day moving average price is $36.68 and its 200 day moving average price is $37.18. First Merchants has a twelve month low of $32.49 and a twelve month high of $49.22. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.40, a current ratio of 0.91 and a quick ratio of 0.91. The stock has a market capitalization of $1.95 billion, a P/E ratio of 12.19, a PEG ratio of 1.64 and a beta of 1.06.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, September 20th. Shareholders of record on Friday, September 6th will be paid a $0.26 dividend. This represents a $1.04 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.65%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, September 5th. First Merchants’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 32.30%.

In other First Merchants news, Director Charles E. Schalliol sold 4,680 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, June 18th. The shares were sold at an average price of $36.26, for a total value of $169,696.80. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Insiders acquired a total of 103 shares of company stock valued at $3,800 in the last three months. Insiders own 1.30% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Earnest Partners LLC bought a new position in First Merchants in the second quarter valued at approximately $68,526,000. Nuveen Asset Management LLC bought a new position in First Merchants in the second quarter valued at about $20,495,000. BlackRock Inc. grew its position in First Merchants by 6.8% in the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 4,076,244 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $154,490,000 after acquiring an additional 258,850 shares during the last quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN lifted its holdings in shares of First Merchants by 79.6% in the second quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 505,160 shares of the bank’s stock worth $19,146,000 after acquiring an additional 223,954 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Phocas Financial Corp. acquired a new stake in shares of First Merchants in the 2nd quarter valued at approximately $7,122,000. Institutional investors own 73.68% of the company’s stock.

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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