First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) was upgraded by research analysts at BidaskClub from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued on Thursday.

FRME has been the topic of a number of other reports. Zacks Investment Research downgraded First Merchants from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, November 2nd. ValuEngine upgraded First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Sunday, December 31st. Piper Jaffray Companies reiterated a “neutral” rating and set a $46.00 target price on shares of First Merchants in a research report on Friday, October 6th. Finally, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $47.00 target price on shares of First Merchants in a research report on Sunday, October 29th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $47.33.

First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) traded up $0.31 on Thursday, reaching $44.20. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 267,235 shares, compared to its average volume of 266,310. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.43, a quick ratio of 0.93 and a current ratio of 0.93. The stock has a market capitalization of $2,170.00, a P/E ratio of 20.28, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.26 and a beta of 0.91. First Merchants has a one year low of $35.26 and a one year high of $45.42.

First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The bank reported $0.50 EPS for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.55 by ($0.05). The firm had revenue of $93.09 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $97.45 million. First Merchants had a return on equity of 9.56% and a net margin of 26.28%. equities analysts anticipate that First Merchants will post 2.26 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In related news, Director Michael C. Marhenke acquired 2,000 shares of First Merchants stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, November 29th. The shares were acquired at an average cost of $43.68 per share, for a total transaction of $87,360.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 33,543 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,465,158.24. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, insider Mark K. Hardwick sold 4,301 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, November 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $42.61, for a total value of $183,265.61. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders bought 5,200 shares of company stock worth $223,978 over the last 90 days. Company insiders own 1.41% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. BlackRock Inc. lifted its position in shares of First Merchants by 7.8% in the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 3,666,493 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $147,175,000 after acquiring an additional 263,813 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. lifted its position in shares of First Merchants by 6.7% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 1,906,637 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $76,533,000 after acquiring an additional 119,583 shares in the last quarter. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company lifted its position in shares of First Merchants by 1.7% in the second quarter. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company now owns 1,021,772 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $41,014,000 after acquiring an additional 17,224 shares in the last quarter. Northern Trust Corp lifted its position in shares of First Merchants by 1.6% in the second quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 997,546 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $40,042,000 after acquiring an additional 15,374 shares in the last quarter. Finally, State Street Corp lifted its position in shares of First Merchants by 12.3% in the second quarter. State Street Corp now owns 886,327 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $35,577,000 after acquiring an additional 97,164 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 69.15% of the company’s stock.

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About First Merchants

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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