BidaskClub upgraded shares of First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report sent to investors on Thursday morning.

A number of other research analysts also recently issued reports on FRME. ValuEngine upgraded shares of First Merchants from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report on Sunday, December 31st. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of First Merchants from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Thursday, November 2nd. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods restated a buy rating and issued a $47.00 price target on shares of First Merchants in a research report on Sunday, October 29th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies restated a neutral rating and issued a $46.00 price target on shares of First Merchants in a research report on Friday, October 6th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company has an average rating of Buy and an average target price of $47.33.

Shares of First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) traded up $0.31 during midday trading on Thursday, hitting $44.20. 267,200 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 239,356. The firm has a market cap of $2,172.11, a P/E ratio of 20.28, a P/E/G ratio of 2.26 and a beta of 0.91. First Merchants has a 1 year low of $35.26 and a 1 year high of $45.42. The company has a quick ratio of 0.93, a current ratio of 0.93 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.43.

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 firm had revenue of $93.09 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $97.45 million. First Merchants had a return on equity of 9.56% and a net margin of 26.28%. sell-side analysts expect that First Merchants will post 2.26 earnings per share for the current year.

In related news, insider Mark K. Hardwick sold 4,301 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, November 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $42.61, for a total transaction of $183,265.61. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, Director Terry L. Walker bought 3,176 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, December 15th. The shares were bought at an average price of $42.69 per share, for a total transaction of $135,583.44. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders bought a total of 5,200 shares of company stock worth $223,978 in the last 90 days. Corporate insiders own 1.41% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Advisor Group Inc. lifted its position in shares of First Merchants by 8.3% during the 2nd quarter. Advisor Group Inc. now owns 2,981 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $120,000 after acquiring an additional 228 shares during the period. Quantbot Technologies LP lifted its position in shares of First Merchants by 2,048.6% during the 2nd quarter. Quantbot Technologies LP now owns 3,975 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $159,000 after acquiring an additional 3,790 shares during the period. Macquarie Group Ltd. acquired a new position in shares of First Merchants during the 3rd quarter valued at $172,000. Victory Capital Management Inc. lifted its position in shares of First Merchants by 17.6% during the 2nd quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 5,155 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $207,000 after acquiring an additional 771 shares during the period. Finally, Amalgamated Bank lifted its position in shares of First Merchants by 1.1% during the 2nd quarter. Amalgamated Bank now owns 5,181 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $208,000 after acquiring an additional 58 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 69.59% of the company’s stock.

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About First Merchants

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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