Brokerages Set First Merchants Co. (NASDAQ:FRME) PT at $43.40

First Merchants Co. (NASDAQ:FRME) has been given an average recommendation of “Buy” by the nine analysts that are covering the stock, MarketBeat reports. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have assigned a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating on the company. The average twelve-month price target among brokerages that have issued ratings on the stock in the last year is $43.40.

FRME has been the subject of a number of recent analyst reports. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Tuesday, October 1st. BidaskClub upgraded shares of First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, October 31st. Raymond James upped their price target on shares of First Merchants from $39.00 to $43.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research report on Friday, October 25th. Finally, ValuEngine upgraded shares of First Merchants from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, September 11th.

NASDAQ FRME traded up $0.11 during trading hours on Monday, reaching $41.28. 162,900 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 168,461. The firm has a market cap of $2.29 billion, a PE ratio of 12.82 and a beta of 1.05. First Merchants has a 52-week low of $32.49 and a 52-week high of $42.82. The firm has a 50-day simple moving average of $38.77 and a 200 day simple moving average of $37.20. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.28, a current ratio of 0.87 and a quick ratio of 0.91.

First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 24th. The bank reported $0.88 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.80 by $0.08. The business had revenue of $111.05 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $109.87 million. First Merchants had a net margin of 29.88% and a return on equity of 10.36%. Sell-side analysts forecast that First Merchants will post 3.34 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 20th. Stockholders of record on Friday, December 6th will be issued a $0.26 dividend. This represents a $1.04 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.52%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, December 5th. First Merchants’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 32.30%.

In related news, Director Charles E. Schalliol sold 7,300 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, September 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $37.98, for a total transaction of $277,254.00. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, SVP Stephan Fluhler sold 3,873 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, September 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $38.98, for a total transaction of $150,969.54. 1.30% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Earnest Partners LLC purchased a new stake in First Merchants during the second quarter valued at $68,526,000. Panagora Asset Management Inc. raised its stake in First Merchants by 72.7% during the second quarter. Panagora Asset Management Inc. now owns 37,008 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $1,403,000 after purchasing an additional 15,584 shares in the last quarter. Rhumbline Advisers raised its stake in First Merchants by 12.6% during the third quarter. Rhumbline Advisers now owns 104,645 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $3,938,000 after purchasing an additional 11,725 shares in the last quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised its stake in First Merchants by 24.0% during the second quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 168,959 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $6,207,000 after purchasing an additional 32,727 shares in the last quarter. Finally, LPL Financial LLC purchased a new stake in First Merchants during the second quarter valued at $607,000. 75.87% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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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