First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) Upgraded by Stephens to “Overweight”

Stephens upgraded shares of First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) from an equal weight rating to an overweight rating in a research report report published on Tuesday morning, Benzinga reports. They currently have $44.00 target price on the bank’s stock.

Several other equities research analysts have also recently commented on the company. Raymond James restated a buy rating on shares of First Quantum Minerals in a research note on Monday, April 8th. Piper Jaffray Companies set a $44.00 price objective on First Merchants and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Wednesday, April 10th. BidaskClub upgraded YRC Worldwide from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Saturday, April 13th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded DLH from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note on Tuesday. Finally, Hovde Group began coverage on First Merchants in a research note on Wednesday, May 22nd. They set a market perform rating and a $39.00 price objective on the stock. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the company. First Merchants currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $43.33.

NASDAQ FRME opened at $37.88 on Tuesday. The company has a market cap of $1.87 billion, a PE ratio of 11.53, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.62 and a beta of 1.04. The company has a 50 day moving average price of $36.00. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.33, a current ratio of 0.91 and a quick ratio of 0.91. First Merchants has a 52 week low of $32.49 and a 52 week high of $50.44.

First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last released its earnings results on Thursday, April 25th. The bank reported $0.78 EPS for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.80 by ($0.02). The firm had revenue of $103.58 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $107.28 million. First Merchants had a net margin of 32.34% and a return on equity of 11.59%. Sell-side analysts forecast that First Merchants will post 3.31 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, June 21st. Stockholders of record on Monday, May 20th were paid a dividend of $0.26 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, May 17th. This represents a $1.04 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.75%. This is a boost from First Merchants’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.22. First Merchants’s dividend payout ratio is currently 32.30%.

In other news, Director Charles E. Schalliol sold 4,680 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, June 18th. The stock was sold at an average price of $36.26, for a total transaction of $169,696.80. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. In the last quarter, insiders have bought 76 shares of company stock worth $2,656. Company insiders own 1.30% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Strs Ohio bought a new stake in First Merchants in the 1st quarter valued at $25,000. Resources Investment Advisors Inc. bought a new stake in First Merchants in the 4th quarter valued at $29,000. Bessemer Group Inc. bought a new stake in First Merchants in the 4th quarter valued at $67,000. Denali Advisors LLC bought a new stake in First Merchants in the 2nd quarter valued at $125,000. Finally, Bank of Montreal Can raised its stake in First Merchants by 106.4% in the 1st quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 3,953 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $146,000 after acquiring an additional 2,038 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 73.40% of the company’s stock.

First Merchants Company 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, as well as rents safe deposit facilities.

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Analyst Recommendations for First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME)

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