Arrowstreet Capital Limited Partnership cut its stake in First Merchants Co. (NASDAQ:FRME) by 14.2% in the first quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The institutional investor owned 41,765 shares of the bank’s stock after selling 6,918 shares during the period. Arrowstreet Capital Limited Partnership owned approximately 0.08% of First Merchants worth $1,942,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Other hedge funds also recently bought and sold shares of the company. Berman Capital Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in shares of First Merchants in the first quarter valued at approximately $28,000. Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. purchased a new position in First Merchants in the first quarter worth approximately $151,000. First Bank & Trust grew its position in First Merchants by 54.5% in the first quarter. First Bank & Trust now owns 3,613 shares of the bank’s stock worth $168,000 after acquiring an additional 1,275 shares during the period. Amalgamated Bank purchased a new position in First Merchants in the first quarter worth approximately $202,000. Finally, 9258 Wealth Management LLC purchased a new position in First Merchants in the first quarter worth approximately $218,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 73.85% of the company’s stock.
Separately, Raymond James increased their price objective on First Merchants from $46.00 to $55.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research report on Tuesday, April 27th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. First Merchants presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $40.25.
First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, April 21st. The bank reported $0.91 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.78 by $0.13. First Merchants had a return on equity of 8.95% and a net margin of 30.18%. The business had revenue of $124.52 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $126.87 million. Research analysts expect that First Merchants Co. will post 3.64 earnings per share for the current year.
The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, June 18th. Stockholders of record on Friday, June 4th were paid a $0.29 dividend. This is a boost from First Merchants’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.26. This represents a $1.16 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.87%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, June 3rd. First Merchants’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 42.34%.
In other news, CEO Mark K. Hardwick sold 8,090 shares of the stock in a transaction on Wednesday, May 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $45.36, for a total value of $366,962.40. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, Director Michael R. Becher sold 1,100 shares of the stock in a transaction on Wednesday, May 12th. The shares were sold at an average price of $46.04, for a total value of $50,644.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.36% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.
First Merchants 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. The company also offers personal and corporate trust; brokerage and private wealth management; and letters of credit, repurchase agreements, and other corporate services.
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