First Merchants Corporation (NASDAQ:FRME) has received an average rating of “Buy” from the six ratings firms that are presently covering the company, MarketBeat Ratings reports. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, one has given a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the company. The average 1 year target price among brokerages that have issued a report on the stock in the last year is $39.00.

FRME has been the subject of a number of analyst reports. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of First Merchants Corporation from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $44.00 price objective for the company in a report on Monday, July 31st. BidaskClub lowered shares of First Merchants Corporation from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Thursday, July 27th. ValuEngine raised shares of First Merchants Corporation from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, June 2nd. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies reissued a “hold” rating on shares of First Merchants Corporation in a report on Thursday, August 3rd.

Shares of First Merchants Corporation (FRME) opened at 39.82 on Monday. First Merchants Corporation has a 1-year low of $25.84 and a 1-year high of $43.48. The firm has a 50-day moving average of $39.78 and a 200 day moving average of $40.11. The company has a market capitalization of $1.96 billion, a P/E ratio of 18.18 and a beta of 0.92.

First Merchants Corporation (NASDAQ:FRME) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 27th. The bank reported $0.57 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate 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 analyst estimates of $78.75 million. On average, analysts anticipate that First Merchants Corporation will post $2.32 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, September 15th. Investors of record on Friday, September 1st will be issued a $0.18 dividend. This represents a $0.72 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.81%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, August 30th. First Merchants Corporation’s dividend payout ratio is currently 32.88%.

In other First Merchants Corporation news, insider Mark K. Hardwick sold 1,851 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, August 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $39.69, for a total value of $73,466.19. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 75,120 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,981,512.80. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, Director Terry L. Walker sold 1,221 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, June 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $42.30, for a total transaction of $51,648.30. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders purchased 65 shares of company stock valued at $2,616 in the last three months. 1.41% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of FRME. Biegel & Waller LLC boosted its position in First Merchants Corporation by 0.4% in the first quarter. Biegel & Waller LLC now owns 5,987 shares of the bank’s stock worth $235,000 after buying an additional 22 shares during the last quarter. Alps Advisors Inc. boosted its position in First Merchants Corporation by 0.3% in the second quarter. Alps Advisors Inc. now owns 12,013 shares of the bank’s stock worth $482,000 after buying an additional 31 shares during the last quarter. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. boosted its position 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 buying an additional 50 shares during the last quarter. Amalgamated Bank boosted its position in First Merchants Corporation by 1.1% in the second quarter. Amalgamated Bank now owns 5,181 shares of the bank’s stock worth $208,000 after buying an additional 58 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Suntrust Banks Inc. boosted its position in First Merchants Corporation by 1.6% in the second quarter. Suntrust Banks Inc. now owns 6,610 shares of the bank’s stock worth $265,000 after buying an additional 101 shares during the last quarter. 68.28% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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First Merchants Corporation Company Profile

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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