First Merchants (FRME) Lowered to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report issued on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “FIRST MERCHANTS CORP. is a bank holding company engaged in conducting commercial banking business through the offices of its banking subsidiaries. “

Other analysts have also recently issued reports about the company. BidaskClub raised First Merchants from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report on Monday, February 5th. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reissued a buy rating and set a $52.00 price objective on shares of First Merchants in a report on Thursday, January 25th. FIG Partners reissued a market-perform rating on shares of First Merchants in a report on Monday, January 29th. Finally, Piper Jaffray reissued a hold rating and set a $48.00 price objective on shares of First Merchants in a report on Sunday, January 28th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $49.33.

Shares of First Merchants stock traded up $0.08 during trading on Thursday, reaching $45.32. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 83,528 shares, compared to its average volume of 142,043. The company has a quick ratio of 0.93, a current ratio of 0.93 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.45. First Merchants has a one year low of $44.32 and a one year high of $44.54. The stock has a market capitalization of $2.21 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.80, a P/E/G ratio of 2.10 and a beta of 0.90.

First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, April 26th. The bank reported $0.74 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.70 by $0.04. First Merchants had a return on equity of 9.82% and a net margin of 26.33%. The business had revenue of $99.48 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $98.35 million. sell-side analysts anticipate that First Merchants will post 3.04 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, June 15th. Shareholders of record on Friday, June 1st will be issued a dividend of $0.22 per share. This is a boost from First Merchants’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.18. This represents a $0.88 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.94%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, May 31st. First Merchants’s payout ratio is currently 29.88%.

In other First Merchants news, insider Mark K. Hardwick sold 4,500 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, May 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $43.91, for a total transaction of $197,595.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, insider Michele Kawiecki sold 600 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, May 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $44.42, for a total value of $26,652.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders have acquired 90 shares of company stock valued at $3,836 and have sold 7,319 shares valued at $318,776. Insiders own 1.41% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP grew its position in shares of First Merchants by 0.8% during the 1st quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 2,894,490 shares of the bank’s stock worth $120,700,000 after buying an additional 23,138 shares during the period. Cardinal Capital Management LLC CT grew its position in shares of First Merchants by 16.9% during the 1st quarter. Cardinal Capital Management LLC CT now owns 1,273,693 shares of the bank’s stock worth $53,113,000 after buying an additional 183,856 shares during the period. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company grew its position in shares of First Merchants by 1.2% during the 1st quarter. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company now owns 1,023,718 shares of the bank’s stock worth $42,689,000 after buying an additional 12,140 shares during the period. Northern Trust Corp grew its position in shares of First Merchants by 0.3% during the 1st quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 992,467 shares of the bank’s stock worth $41,386,000 after buying an additional 3,146 shares during the period. Finally, Bank of New York Mellon Corp grew its position in shares of First Merchants by 21.1% during the 4th quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 944,229 shares of the bank’s stock worth $39,714,000 after buying an additional 164,389 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 70.27% 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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