Brokerages Set First Merchants Co. (NASDAQ:FRME) PT at $43.00

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First Merchants Co. (NASDAQ:FRME) has been given an average rating of “Hold” by the nine ratings firms that are covering the firm, Marketbeat.com reports. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell recommendation, three have assigned a hold recommendation and four have issued a buy recommendation on the company. The average 1-year price target among analysts that have covered the stock in the last year is $43.20.

FRME has been the subject of several recent analyst reports. Raymond James reissued a “buy” rating on shares of First Quantum Minerals in a report on Monday, April 8th. Hovde Group initiated coverage on shares of First Merchants in a report on Wednesday, May 22nd. They issued a “market perform” rating and a $39.00 price target for the company. Piper Jaffray Companies set a $44.00 price target on shares of First Merchants and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, April 10th. Stephens initiated coverage on shares of LiqTech International in a report on Tuesday, July 9th. They issued an “overweight” rating and a $13.00 price target for the company. Finally, BidaskClub raised shares of YRC Worldwide from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Saturday, April 13th.

In other news, Director Charles E. Schalliol sold 4,680 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, June 18th. The shares were sold at an average price of $36.26, for a total transaction of $169,696.80. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. In the last three months, insiders purchased 76 shares of company stock valued at $2,656. 1.30% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in FRME. Norges Bank purchased a new stake in shares of First Merchants during the fourth quarter worth $16,402,000. BlackRock Inc. grew its holdings in shares of First Merchants by 4.4% during the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 3,554,701 shares of the bank’s stock worth $121,822,000 after buying an additional 149,020 shares in the last quarter. First Merchants Corp grew its holdings in shares of First Merchants by 41.0% during the first quarter. First Merchants Corp now owns 254,080 shares of the bank’s stock worth $9,360,000 after buying an additional 73,829 shares in the last quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. grew its holdings in shares of First Merchants by 19.1% during the fourth quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 370,271 shares of the bank’s stock worth $12,689,000 after buying an additional 59,490 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Geode Capital Management LLC grew its holdings in shares of First Merchants by 10.5% during the fourth quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 570,956 shares of the bank’s stock worth $19,566,000 after buying an additional 54,304 shares in the last quarter. 73.40% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Shares of FRME traded up $0.28 during trading hours on Tuesday, hitting $37.88. The stock had a trading volume of 228,855 shares, compared to its average volume of 334,273. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.33, a current ratio of 0.91 and a quick ratio of 0.91. The business’s 50-day moving average is $36.00. First Merchants has a fifty-two week low of $32.49 and a fifty-two week high of $50.44. The firm has a market cap of $1.88 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.76, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.63 and a beta of 1.04.

First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, April 25th. The bank reported $0.78 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.80 by ($0.02). First Merchants had a net margin of 32.34% and a return on equity of 11.59%. The firm had revenue of $103.58 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $107.28 million. As a group, research analysts expect that First Merchants will post 3.31 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, June 21st. Investors of record on Monday, May 20th were issued a $0.26 dividend. This represents a $1.04 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.75%. The ex-dividend date was Friday, May 17th. This is a positive change from First Merchants’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.22. First Merchants’s payout ratio is presently 32.30%.

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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Analyst Recommendations for First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME)

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