Zacks Investment Research Lowers First Merchants Corporation (NASDAQ:FRME) to Hold

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of First Merchants Corporation (NASDAQ:FRME) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report released on Tuesday, June 27th.

According to Zacks, “FIRST MERCHANTS CORP. is a bank holding company engaged in conducting commercial banking business through the offices of its banking subsidiaries. “

Several other equities research analysts also recently commented on FRME. ValuEngine raised First Merchants Corporation from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Friday, June 2nd. BidaskClub downgraded First Merchants Corporation from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note on Saturday, June 24th. Finally, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reaffirmed a buy rating and set a $44.00 price target on shares of First Merchants Corporation in a research note on Wednesday, April 5th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $39.67.

Shares of First Merchants Corporation (NASDAQ FRME) opened at 40.26 on Tuesday. The company has a market cap of $1.65 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.08 and a beta of 0.93. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $40.51 and a 200 day moving average of $39.39. First Merchants Corporation has a 12-month low of $25.00 and a 12-month high of $43.48.

First Merchants Corporation (NASDAQ:FRME) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, April 27th. The bank reported $0.56 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.52 by $0.04. First Merchants Corporation had a return on equity of 9.57% and a net margin of 26.67%. The company had revenue of $75.85 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $76.65 million. Analysts forecast that First Merchants Corporation will post $2.28 earnings per share for the current year.

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In related news, Director Terry L. Walker sold 1,221 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, June 14th. The stock was sold at an average price of $42.30, for a total transaction of $51,648.30. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Insiders acquired a total of 93 shares of company stock valued at $3,810 in the last quarter. Corporate insiders own 1.41% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Wells Fargo & Company MN increased its position in shares of First Merchants Corporation by 181.9% in the first quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 261,646 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $10,287,000 after buying an additional 168,830 shares during the last quarter. First Merchants Corp boosted its stake in First Merchants Corporation by 54.0% in the first quarter. First Merchants Corp now owns 21,796 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $857,000 after buying an additional 7,642 shares during the period. Russell Investments Group Ltd. boosted its stake in First Merchants Corporation by 12.5% in the first quarter. Russell Investments Group Ltd. now owns 313,680 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $12,333,000 after buying an additional 34,732 shares during the period. Fisher Asset Management LLC boosted its stake in First Merchants Corporation by 45.5% in the first quarter. Fisher Asset Management LLC now owns 60,514 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $2,379,000 after buying an additional 18,924 shares during the period. Finally, Nationwide Fund Advisors boosted its stake in First Merchants Corporation by 43.5% in the first quarter. Nationwide Fund Advisors now owns 177,858 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $6,993,000 after buying an additional 53,910 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 78.51% of the company’s stock.

First Merchants Corporation Company Profile

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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