Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of First Merchants Co. (NASDAQ:FRME) by 4.2% in the 1st quarter, according to the company in its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The fund owned 208,187 shares of the bank’s stock after acquiring an additional 8,415 shares during the quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. owned about 0.42% of First Merchants worth $8,682,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.
Other hedge funds have also bought and sold shares of the company. Swiss National Bank increased its stake in First Merchants by 6.9% during the fourth quarter. Swiss National Bank now owns 83,662 shares of the bank’s stock worth $3,519,000 after acquiring an additional 5,400 shares during the last quarter. Deutsche Bank AG increased its stake in First Merchants by 32.6% during the fourth quarter. Deutsche Bank AG now owns 143,356 shares of the bank’s stock worth $6,028,000 after acquiring an additional 35,270 shares during the last quarter. Kennedy Capital Management Inc. increased its stake in First Merchants by 130.9% during the fourth quarter. Kennedy Capital Management Inc. now owns 393,935 shares of the bank’s stock worth $16,569,000 after acquiring an additional 223,293 shares during the last quarter. Hamilton Capital Management Inc. acquired a new stake in First Merchants during the fourth quarter worth $215,000. Finally, Wells Fargo & Company MN increased its stake in First Merchants by 6.5% during the fourth quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 305,057 shares of the bank’s stock worth $12,830,000 after acquiring an additional 18,719 shares during the last quarter. 68.71% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.
In other news, insider Michele Kawiecki sold 600 shares of First Merchants stock in a transaction on Wednesday, May 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $44.42, for a total value of $26,652.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, insider Mark K. Hardwick sold 4,500 shares of First Merchants stock in a transaction on Friday, May 4th. The shares were sold at an average price of $43.91, for a total value of $197,595.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders bought 61 shares of company stock valued at $2,657 over the last ninety days. Insiders own 1.41% of the company’s stock.
First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, April 26th. The bank reported $0.74 earnings per share 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. research analysts anticipate that First Merchants Co. will post 3.06 EPS for the current year.
The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, June 15th. Stockholders of record on Friday, June 1st were paid a $0.22 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, May 31st. This is a boost from First Merchants’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.18. This represents a $0.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.88%. First Merchants’s payout ratio is presently 36.51%.
Several equities research analysts have issued reports on the company. BidaskClub raised First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, May 24th. Zacks Investment Research cut First Merchants from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, May 17th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a hold rating and four have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $50.33.
About First Merchants
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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