Xact Kapitalforvaltning AB Takes Position in First Merchants Co. (FRME)

Xact Kapitalforvaltning AB acquired a new stake in First Merchants Co. (NASDAQ:FRME) during the 4th quarter, according to its most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund acquired 6,116 shares of the bank’s stock, valued at approximately $257,000.

Other institutional investors and hedge funds also recently modified their holdings of the company. Macquarie Group Ltd. purchased a new stake in First Merchants during the third quarter worth about $172,000. Hamilton Capital Management Inc. purchased a new stake in First Merchants during the fourth quarter worth about $215,000. Ullmann Financial Group Inc. purchased a new stake in First Merchants during the fourth quarter worth about $235,000. Ramsey Quantitative Systems purchased a new stake in First Merchants during the fourth quarter worth about $287,000. Finally, Landscape Capital Management L.L.C. purchased a new stake in First Merchants during the fourth quarter worth about $391,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 70.08% of the company’s stock.

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Shares of NASDAQ:FRME opened at $41.91 on Friday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.42, a quick ratio of 0.93 and a current ratio of 0.93. The stock has a market cap of $2,105.98, a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.39, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.05 and a beta of 0.91. First Merchants Co. has a 1 year low of $37.03 and a 1 year high of $45.42.

First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last released its earnings results on Thursday, January 25th. The bank reported $0.61 earnings per share for the quarter, hitting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.61. First Merchants had a net margin of 24.90% and a return on equity of 9.47%. The firm had revenue of $97.83 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $98.30 million. analysts anticipate that First Merchants Co. will post 2.96 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, March 16th. Investors of record on Friday, March 2nd were paid a dividend of $0.18 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, March 1st. This represents a $0.72 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.72%. First Merchants’s payout ratio is 29.88%.

In related news, insider Michael J. Stewart sold 2,219 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, February 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $42.60, for a total transaction of $94,529.40. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 55,706 shares in the company, valued at $2,373,075.60. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Insiders have purchased 63 shares of company stock worth $2,661 over the last 90 days. Insiders own 1.41% of the company’s stock.

A number of analysts have issued reports on the stock. BidaskClub upgraded shares of First Merchants from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Monday, February 5th. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of First Merchants from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, February 27th. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $52.00 price target on shares of First Merchants in a research note on Thursday, January 25th. FIG Partners reiterated a “market-perform” rating on shares of First Merchants in a research note on Monday, January 29th. Finally, Piper Jaffray reiterated a “hold” rating and set a $48.00 price target on shares of First Merchants in a research note on Sunday, January 28th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have given a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the stock. First Merchants currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $49.67.

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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, as well as rents safe deposit facilities.

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

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