OxFORD Asset Management LLP Buys New Stake in First Merchants Co. (FRME)

OxFORD Asset Management LLP bought a new stake in First Merchants Co. (NASDAQ:FRME) during the third quarter, according to the company in its most recent disclosure with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The institutional investor bought 24,862 shares of the bank’s stock, valued at approximately $1,063,000. OxFORD Asset Management LLP owned about 0.05% of First Merchants at the end of the most recent reporting period.

A number of other hedge funds and other institutional investors also recently bought and sold shares of the business. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. lifted its position in First Merchants by 5.6% in the third quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 186,676 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $8,015,000 after buying an additional 9,935 shares during the last quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN increased its stake in First Merchants by 5.9% during the third quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 286,338 shares of the bank’s stock worth $12,292,000 after purchasing an additional 15,855 shares during the period. Citadel Advisors LLC increased its stake in First Merchants by 325.6% during the third quarter. Citadel Advisors LLC now owns 48,441 shares of the bank’s stock worth $2,079,000 after purchasing an additional 37,059 shares during the period. Schroder Investment Management Group increased its stake in First Merchants by 10.7% during the third quarter. Schroder Investment Management Group now owns 326,662 shares of the bank’s stock worth $13,968,000 after purchasing an additional 31,617 shares during the period. Finally, Trexquant Investment LP purchased a new stake in First Merchants during the third quarter worth about $243,000. 69.15% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Shares of First Merchants Co. (NASDAQ FRME) opened at $42.94 on Thursday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.43, a quick ratio of 0.93 and a current ratio of 0.93. The stock has a market cap of $2,120.00, a PE ratio of 18.96, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.71 and a beta of 0.90. First Merchants Co. has a one year low of $35.26 and a one year high of $45.42.

First Merchants (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 Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.55 by ($0.05). The business had revenue of $93.09 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $97.45 million. First Merchants had a return on equity of 9.56% and a net margin of 26.28%. sell-side analysts anticipate that First Merchants Co. will post 2.29 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, December 15th. Shareholders of record on Friday, December 1st were paid a dividend of $0.18 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, November 30th. This represents a $0.72 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.68%. First Merchants’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 33.03%.

In other news, Director Terry L. Walker bought 3,176 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, December 15th. The shares were purchased at an average cost of $42.69 per share, for a total transaction of $135,583.44. The acquisition was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, insider Mark K. Hardwick sold 4,301 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, November 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $42.61, for a total transaction of $183,265.61. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have acquired 5,212 shares of company stock worth $224,491 over the last quarter. Insiders own 1.41% of the company’s stock.

A number of brokerages have issued reports on FRME. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of First Merchants from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, November 2nd. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $47.00 price target on shares of First Merchants in a research note on Sunday, October 29th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies reiterated a “neutral” rating and set a $46.00 price target on shares of First Merchants in a research note on Friday, October 6th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have issued a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $47.33.

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First Merchants 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).

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME)

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