First Merchants Corporation (FRME) Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research to “Buy”

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of First Merchants Corporation (NASDAQ:FRME) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note published on Monday morning. They currently have $49.00 price target on the bank’s stock.

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 analysts have also recently issued reports on the company. BidaskClub upgraded First Merchants Corporation from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 5th. Piper Jaffray Companies restated a neutral rating and issued a $46.00 price target on shares of First Merchants Corporation in a research report on Friday, October 6th. Finally, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods restated a buy rating and issued a $47.00 price target on shares of First Merchants Corporation in a research report on Sunday, October 29th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have issued a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the company. First Merchants Corporation has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $47.33.

First Merchants Corporation (NASDAQ:FRME) traded up $0.43 during trading hours on Monday, hitting $43.04. 88,299 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 193,599. The company has a market cap of $2.13 billion, a P/E ratio of 18.90, a P/E/G ratio of 2.69 and a beta of 0.92. The company has a current ratio of 0.92, a quick ratio of 0.92 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.43.

First Merchants Corporation (NASDAQ:FRME) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The bank reported $0.50 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.55 by ($0.05). The company had revenue of $93.09 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $97.45 million. First Merchants Corporation had a net margin of 26.28% and a return on equity of 10.38%. research analysts forecast that First Merchants Corporation will post 2.3 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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In other First Merchants Corporation news, insider Mark K. Hardwick sold 1,851 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, August 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $39.69, for a total transaction of $73,466.19. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 75,120 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,981,512.80. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Insiders have acquired a total of 66 shares of company stock worth $2,681 in the last quarter. 1.41% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA increased its position in First Merchants Corporation by 23.4% during the 3rd quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 6,947 shares of the bank’s stock worth $298,000 after purchasing an additional 1,317 shares during the period. Swiss National Bank increased its position in First Merchants Corporation by 15.0% during the 3rd quarter. Swiss National Bank now owns 78,262 shares of the bank’s stock worth $3,360,000 after purchasing an additional 10,200 shares during the period. Boston Partners acquired a new position in First Merchants Corporation during the 3rd quarter worth approximately $21,120,000. IndexIQ Advisors LLC increased its position in First Merchants Corporation by 83.3% during the 3rd quarter. IndexIQ Advisors LLC now owns 22,045 shares of the bank’s stock worth $946,000 after purchasing an additional 10,021 shares during the period. Finally, USA Financial Portformulas Corp acquired a new position in First Merchants Corporation during the 3rd quarter worth approximately $538,000. Institutional investors own 67.32% 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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