QS Investors LLC reduced its stake in First Merchants Co. (NASDAQ:FRME) by 1.9% in the fourth quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund owned 139,947 shares of the bank’s stock after selling 2,761 shares during the quarter. QS Investors LLC owned approximately 0.28% of First Merchants worth $5,886,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.
A number of other hedge funds and other institutional investors also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Cardinal Capital Management LLC CT raised its position in First Merchants by 1,533.9% in the 4th quarter. Cardinal Capital Management LLC CT now owns 1,089,837 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $45,838,000 after buying an additional 1,023,137 shares during the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp raised its position in First Merchants by 21.1% in the 4th quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 944,229 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $39,714,000 after buying an additional 164,389 shares during the last quarter. Boston Partners raised its position in First Merchants by 9.2% in the 4th quarter. Boston Partners now owns 536,990 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $22,585,000 after buying an additional 45,031 shares during the last quarter. Kennedy Capital Management Inc. raised its position in First Merchants by 130.9% in the 4th quarter. Kennedy Capital Management Inc. now owns 393,935 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $16,569,000 after buying an additional 223,293 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Schroder Investment Management Group raised its position in First Merchants by 6.0% in the 4th quarter. Schroder Investment Management Group now owns 346,394 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $14,569,000 after buying an additional 19,732 shares during the last quarter. 70.10% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
First Merchants Co. (NASDAQ FRME) opened at $43.85 on Wednesday. The stock has a market capitalization of $2,192.18, a price-to-earnings ratio of 20.68, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.13 and a beta of 0.93. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.42, a current ratio of 0.93 and a quick ratio of 0.93. First Merchants Co. has a 12 month low of $36.73 and a 12 month high of $45.42.
The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, March 16th. Shareholders of record on Friday, March 2nd will be paid a $0.18 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, March 1st. This represents a $0.72 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.64%. First Merchants’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 33.96%.
FRME has been the subject of a number of analyst reports. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $52.00 price target on shares of First Merchants in a research report on Thursday, January 25th. Zacks Investment Research raised First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $49.00 price target for the company in a research report on Friday, January 12th. ValuEngine raised First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Sunday, December 31st. BidaskClub raised First Merchants from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, March 9th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $48.00 price target on shares of First Merchants in a research report on Sunday, January 28th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. First Merchants presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $49.67.
In other news, insider Michael J. Stewart sold 2,219 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, February 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $42.60, for a total transaction of $94,529.40. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 55,706 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,373,075.60. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, Director Terry L. Walker purchased 3,176 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, December 15th. The shares were purchased at an average price of $42.69 per share, with a total value of $135,583.44. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders acquired a total of 3,227 shares of company stock valued at $137,744 in the last 90 days. Corporate insiders own 1.41% 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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