First Merchants Co. (NASDAQ:FRME) Stake Raised by Principal Financial Group Inc.

Principal Financial Group Inc. increased its holdings in First Merchants Co. (NASDAQ:FRME) by 1.2% in the 3rd quarter, according to the company in its most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 787,310 shares of the bank’s stock after acquiring an additional 9,447 shares during the period. Principal Financial Group Inc. owned about 1.46% of First Merchants worth $32,942,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Other institutional investors and hedge funds have also recently bought and sold shares of the company. Signaturefd LLC raised its stake in shares of First Merchants by 144.6% during the 3rd quarter. Signaturefd LLC now owns 1,639 shares of the bank’s stock worth $69,000 after purchasing an additional 969 shares in the last quarter. William Blair Investment Management LLC purchased a new stake in shares of First Merchants during the 2nd quarter worth about $70,000. Federated Hermes Inc. raised its stake in shares of First Merchants by 18.7% during the 2nd quarter. Federated Hermes Inc. now owns 2,569 shares of the bank’s stock worth $107,000 after purchasing an additional 404 shares in the last quarter. Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. purchased a new stake in shares of First Merchants during the 1st quarter worth about $151,000. Finally, Ergoteles LLC purchased a new stake in shares of First Merchants during the 2nd quarter worth about $229,000. 72.56% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

In other news, insider Stephan Fluhler sold 3,155 shares of First Merchants stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, December 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $40.34, for a total transaction of $127,272.70. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Insiders have bought a total of 36 shares of company stock worth $1,496 in the last three months. 1.36% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of brokerages recently weighed in on FRME. Zacks Investment Research downgraded First Merchants from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, November 3rd. Hovde Group raised First Merchants from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating and set a $47.00 target price on the stock in a report on Monday, December 13th.

FRME opened at $45.78 on Friday. First Merchants Co. has a 12-month low of $36.59 and a 12-month high of $50.65. The firm has a market capitalization of $2.47 billion, a P/E ratio of 12.21 and a beta of 1.20. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $42.13 and its two-hundred day moving average price is $41.53. The company has a quick ratio of 0.75, a current ratio of 0.75 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.24.

First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Monday, October 25th. The bank reported $0.98 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.91 by $0.07. First Merchants had a return on equity of 10.94% and a net margin of 36.19%. The company had revenue of $133.22 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $132.07 million. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $0.67 EPS. As a group, analysts anticipate that First Merchants Co. will post 3.83 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, December 17th. Stockholders of record on Friday, December 3rd were issued a dividend of $0.29 per share. This represents a $1.16 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.53%. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, December 2nd. First Merchants’s payout ratio is presently 30.93%.

About First Merchants

First Merchants Corp. (Indiana) is a holding company, which engages in the provision of financial services. It also offers personal banking, business banking, mortgage lending, treasury management services, and wealth management. The company was founded in September 1982 and is headquartered in Muncie, IN.

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME)

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