First Merchants Corporation (NASDAQ:FRME) Stock Rating Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of First Merchants Corporation (NASDAQ:FRME) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report sent to investors on Tuesday.

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 equities analysts also recently issued reports about the stock. ValuEngine upgraded shares of First Merchants Corporation from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Friday, June 2nd. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods restated a buy rating and issued a $44.00 target price on shares of First Merchants Corporation in a research note on Wednesday, April 5th. Finally, BidaskClub downgraded shares of First Merchants Corporation from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note on Saturday, June 24th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average price target of $36.50.

First Merchants Corporation (NASDAQ:FRME) traded down 0.61% during mid-day trading on Tuesday, hitting $40.54. 32,056 shares of the stock were exchanged. The firm has a market capitalization of $1.66 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.21 and a beta of 0.93. The company’s 50-day moving average price is $40.51 and its 200 day moving average price is $39.39. First Merchants Corporation has a 52 week low of $24.58 and a 52 week high of $43.48.

First Merchants Corporation (NASDAQ:FRME) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, April 27th. The bank reported $0.56 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.52 by $0.04. The business had revenue of $75.85 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $76.65 million. First Merchants Corporation had a net margin of 26.67% and a return on equity of 9.57%. Equities research analysts expect that First Merchants Corporation will post $2.27 EPS for the current year.

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The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, June 16th. Shareholders of record on Friday, June 2nd were paid a $0.18 dividend. This is an increase from First Merchants Corporation’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.15. This represents a $0.72 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.77%. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, May 31st. First Merchants Corporation’s dividend payout ratio is currently 34.12%.

In other First Merchants Corporation news, Director Terry L. Walker sold 1,221 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, June 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $42.30, for a total value of $51,648.30. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. Insiders acquired a total of 93 shares of company stock worth $3,810 over the last 90 days. Insiders own 1.41% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of FRME. Cornerstone Capital Management Holdings LLC. acquired a new stake in shares of First Merchants Corporation during the first quarter valued at $115,000. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. boosted its stake in shares of First Merchants Corporation by 6.5% in the first quarter. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. now owns 2,979 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $117,000 after buying an additional 183 shares during the last quarter. Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. acquired a new stake in shares of First Merchants Corporation during the first quarter valued at $138,000. Meeder Asset Management Inc. boosted its stake in shares of First Merchants Corporation by 5.7% in the first quarter. Meeder Asset Management Inc. now owns 3,538 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $139,000 after buying an additional 190 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Invictus RG acquired a new stake in shares of First Merchants Corporation during the first quarter valued at $196,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 79.07% of the company’s stock.

About First Merchants Corporation

First Merchants Corporation is a financial holding company. The Company has a bank charter, First Merchants Bank (the Bank), which is opened for business in Muncie, Indiana. It operates through community banking business segment. The Bank also operates Lafayette Bank and Trust, and First Merchants Private Wealth Advisors (each as a division of First Merchants Bank).

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