Northern Trust Corp Acquires 79,019 Shares of First Merchants Co. (FRME)

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Northern Trust Corp increased its holdings in First Merchants Co. (NASDAQ:FRME) by 8.0% during the second quarter, HoldingsChannel.com reports. The fund owned 1,071,486 shares of the bank’s stock after buying an additional 79,019 shares during the period. Northern Trust Corp’s holdings in First Merchants were worth $49,717,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Other institutional investors have also made changes to their positions in the company. Mount Yale Investment Advisors LLC acquired a new position in shares of First Merchants in the 1st quarter valued at $117,000. Biegel & Waller LLC acquired a new position in shares of First Merchants in the 2nd quarter valued at $208,000. Independent Advisor Alliance acquired a new position in shares of First Merchants in the 2nd quarter valued at $213,000. First Allied Advisory Services Inc. acquired a new position in shares of First Merchants in the 2nd quarter valued at $213,000. Finally, Greenwood Capital Associates LLC acquired a new position in shares of First Merchants in the 2nd quarter valued at $227,000. 70.33% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

In related news, Director Michael C. Marhenke sold 26,000 shares of First Merchants stock in a transaction on Tuesday, August 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $49.14, for a total value of $1,277,640.00. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 30,294 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,488,647.16. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, President Michael C. Rechin sold 15,000 shares of First Merchants stock in a transaction on Monday, August 20th. The shares were sold at an average price of $48.63, for a total transaction of $729,450.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders purchased 81 shares of company stock worth $3,860. 1.29% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

NASDAQ:FRME opened at $42.93 on Friday. First Merchants Co. has a 1-year low of $37.60 and a 1-year high of $50.44. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.45, a quick ratio of 0.93 and a current ratio of 0.93. The firm has a market capitalization of $2.23 billion, a P/E ratio of 17.81, a PEG ratio of 2.03 and a beta of 0.84.

First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, July 25th. The bank reported $0.80 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.75 by $0.05. First Merchants had a net margin of 28.09% and a return on equity of 10.44%. The firm had revenue of $102.76 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $101.57 million. Analysts forecast that First Merchants Co. will post 3.16 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, September 21st. Investors of record on Friday, September 7th were given a $0.22 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, September 6th. This represents a $0.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.05%. First Merchants’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 36.51%.

A number of research firms recently weighed in on FRME. ValuEngine lowered shares of First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Tuesday, October 2nd. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $49.00 price objective on the stock in a research report on Friday. BidaskClub lowered shares of First Merchants from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 18th. Finally, Stephens lowered shares of First Merchants from an “overweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating in a research report on Monday, July 30th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have given a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the company. First Merchants has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $49.67.

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

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