First Merchants Co. (FRME) Short Interest Update

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First Merchants Co. (NASDAQ:FRME) was the target of a large decrease in short interest in October. As of October 15th, there was short interest totalling 573,075 shares, a decrease of 32.6% from the September 28th total of 850,266 shares. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 231,254 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 2.5 days. Currently, 1.2% of the company’s stock are sold short.

Shares of FRME stock opened at $42.12 on Wednesday. First Merchants has a 1-year low of $37.60 and a 1-year high of $50.44. The stock has a market cap of $2.06 billion, a P/E ratio of 17.48, a P/E/G ratio of 1.87 and a beta of 0.84. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.45, a quick ratio of 0.93 and a current ratio of 0.93.

First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, October 24th. The bank reported $0.83 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.80 by $0.03. First Merchants had a return on equity of 11.24% and a net margin of 30.43%. The company had revenue of $106.01 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $104.90 million. On average, equities analysts anticipate that First Merchants will post 3.17 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

FRME has been the topic of a number of recent research reports. Stephens downgraded First Merchants from an “overweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating in a research report on Monday, July 30th. BidaskClub downgraded First Merchants from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Saturday, August 25th. Zacks Investment Research raised First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $55.00 price objective on the stock in a research report on Monday, July 30th. Finally, ValuEngine downgraded First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Tuesday, October 2nd. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have assigned a hold rating and one has issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $49.33.

In other news, President Michael C. Rechin sold 15,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, August 20th. The stock was sold at an average price of $48.63, for a total transaction of $729,450.00. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, Director Michael C. Marhenke sold 26,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, August 21st. The stock was 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 disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.29% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Mount Yale Investment Advisors LLC bought a new stake in First Merchants during the first quarter valued at about $117,000. Biegel & Waller LLC purchased a new stake in First Merchants in the second quarter valued at about $208,000. Independent Advisor Alliance purchased a new stake in First Merchants in the second quarter valued at about $213,000. First Allied Advisory Services Inc. purchased a new stake in First Merchants in the second quarter valued at about $213,000. Finally, Indiana Trust & Investment Management CO purchased a new stake in First Merchants in the third quarter valued at about $226,000. 70.33% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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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