Northern Trust Corp grew its holdings in First Merchants Co. (NASDAQ:FRME) by 8.0% in the 2nd quarter, according to the company in its most recent Form 13F filing with the SEC. The firm owned 1,071,486 shares of the bank’s stock after purchasing an additional 79,019 shares during the quarter. Northern Trust Corp owned 2.16% of First Merchants worth $49,717,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Several other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also bought and sold shares of FRME. Rhumbline Advisers lifted its stake in First Merchants by 15.4% in the second quarter. Rhumbline Advisers now owns 60,729 shares of the bank’s stock worth $2,818,000 after acquiring an additional 8,084 shares during the last quarter. Greenwood Capital Associates LLC purchased a new position in First Merchants in the second quarter worth approximately $227,000. First Allied Advisory Services Inc. purchased a new position in First Merchants in the second quarter worth approximately $213,000. Vaughan Nelson Investment Management L.P. lifted its stake in First Merchants by 0.8% in the second quarter. Vaughan Nelson Investment Management L.P. now owns 1,828,622 shares of the bank’s stock worth $84,848,000 after acquiring an additional 14,275 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Amalgamated Bank lifted its stake in First Merchants by 24.5% in the second quarter. Amalgamated Bank now owns 6,714 shares of the bank’s stock worth $312,000 after acquiring an additional 1,322 shares during the last quarter. 70.33% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Shares of First Merchants stock opened at $42.93 on Friday. First Merchants Co. has a 52-week low of $37.60 and a 52-week high of $50.44. The company has a quick ratio of 0.93, a current ratio of 0.93 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.45. The company has a market capitalization of $2.23 billion, a P/E ratio of 17.81, a PEG ratio of 2.03 and a beta of 0.84.

First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last released its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, July 25th. The bank reported $0.80 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.75 by $0.05. First Merchants had a net margin of 28.09% and a return on equity of 10.44%. The company had revenue of $102.76 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $101.57 million. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that First Merchants Co. will post 3.16 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, September 21st. Shareholders of record on Friday, September 7th were issued a dividend of $0.22 per share. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, September 6th. This represents a $0.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.05%. First Merchants’s payout ratio is currently 36.51%.

In other First Merchants news, Director Michael C. Marhenke sold 26,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, August 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $49.14, for a total transaction of $1,277,640.00. Following the sale, the director now owns 30,294 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,488,647.16. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, President Michael C. Rechin sold 15,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, August 20th. The stock was sold at an average price of $48.63, for a total transaction of $729,450.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders have acquired 81 shares of company stock worth $3,860. 1.29% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of research analysts recently issued reports on FRME shares. BidaskClub downgraded shares of First Merchants from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Saturday, August 25th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $55.00 price target for the company in a research note on Monday, July 30th. Finally, Stephens downgraded shares of First Merchants from an “overweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Monday, July 30th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have issued a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the company. First Merchants has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $49.67.

About First Merchants

First Merchants Corporation operates as the financial holding company for First Merchants Bank that provides community banking services. It accepts time, savings, and demand deposits; and provides consumer, commercial, agri-business, and real estate mortgage loans, as well as rents safe deposit facilities.

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

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