First Merchants Co. (FRME) Receives Consensus Rating of “Hold” from Analysts

Shares of First Merchants Co. (NASDAQ:FRME) have been assigned a consensus recommendation of “Hold” from the six research firms that are presently covering the stock, Marketbeat reports. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell recommendation, two have assigned a hold recommendation and two have given a buy recommendation to the company. The average twelve-month price target among brokers that have issued a report on the stock in the last year is $50.00.

Several research firms have commented on FRME. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $49.00 price target for the company in a research note on Friday, January 12th. BidaskClub upgraded shares of First Merchants from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, January 11th. Piper Jaffray restated a “hold” rating and issued a $48.00 price target on shares of First Merchants in a research note on Sunday, January 28th. FIG Partners reiterated a “market-perform” rating on shares of First Merchants in a research note on Monday, January 29th. Finally, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $52.00 target price on shares of First Merchants in a research note on Thursday, January 25th.

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In related news, insider Michael J. Stewart sold 2,219 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction 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 completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 55,706 shares in the company, valued at $2,373,075.60. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. In the last quarter, insiders have purchased 63 shares of company stock valued at $2,661. Insiders own 1.41% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Macquarie Group Ltd. acquired a new position in shares of First Merchants during the third quarter worth $172,000. Hamilton Capital Management Inc. purchased a new stake in First Merchants in the fourth quarter valued at $215,000. Ullmann Financial Group Inc. purchased a new stake in First Merchants in the fourth quarter valued at $235,000. Xact Kapitalforvaltning AB purchased a new stake in First Merchants in the fourth quarter valued at $257,000. Finally, Ramsey Quantitative Systems purchased a new stake in First Merchants in the fourth quarter valued at $287,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 70.08% of the company’s stock.

Shares of NASDAQ:FRME traded up $0.42 during trading on Friday, hitting $43.03. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 224,934 shares, compared to its average volume of 151,243. The company has a market cap of $2,083.70, a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.91, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.03 and a beta of 0.91. The company has a quick ratio of 0.93, a current ratio of 0.93 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.42. First Merchants has a fifty-two week low of $37.09 and a fifty-two week high of $45.42.

First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, January 25th. The bank reported $0.61 EPS for the quarter, hitting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.61. The business had revenue of $97.83 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $98.30 million. First Merchants had a net margin of 24.90% and a return on equity of 9.47%. analysts expect that First Merchants will post 2.96 EPS for the current year.

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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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