Wall Street brokerages expect that First Merchants Co. (NASDAQ:FRME) will post sales of $114.30 million for the current quarter, Zacks Investment Research reports. Three analysts have issued estimates for First Merchants’ earnings. The highest sales estimate is $122.70 million and the lowest is $105.80 million. First Merchants reported sales of $99.48 million in the same quarter last year, which indicates a positive year-over-year growth rate of 14.9%. The firm is scheduled to issue its next earnings results on Wednesday, April 24th.

On average, analysts expect that First Merchants will report full year sales of $496.03 million for the current financial year, with estimates ranging from $488.40 million to $501.80 million. For the next fiscal year, analysts expect that the business will post sales of $531.30 million, with estimates ranging from $528.60 million to $534.00 million. Zacks’ sales averages are an average based on a survey of sell-side analysts that that provide coverage for First Merchants.

First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, January 31st. The bank reported $0.85 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.82 by $0.03. First Merchants had a net margin of 32.85% and a return on equity of 11.74%. The company had revenue of $107.06 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $107.40 million.

A number of analysts have recently weighed in on FRME shares. FIG Partners reissued a “market-perform” rating on shares of First Merchants in a research report on Friday, February 1st. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $38.00 price target for the company in a research report on Tuesday, December 25th. BidaskClub raised shares of First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, March 6th. Finally, Sandler O’Neill raised shares of First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $47.00 price target for the company in a research report on Monday, November 19th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have given a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $46.00.

In related news, Director Terry L. Walker purchased 1,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, December 19th. The stock was acquired at an average price of $35.12 per share, with a total value of $35,120.00. The acquisition was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Insiders have bought 1,101 shares of company stock valued at $38,966 in the last three months. Corporate insiders own 1.29% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Bank of New York Mellon Corp lifted its stake in First Merchants by 2.3% during the second quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 801,327 shares of the bank’s stock worth $37,181,000 after purchasing an additional 18,195 shares during the last quarter. First Trust Advisors LP lifted its stake in First Merchants by 108.6% during the third quarter. First Trust Advisors LP now owns 209,872 shares of the bank’s stock worth $9,442,000 after purchasing an additional 109,254 shares during the last quarter. Russell Investments Group Ltd. lifted its stake in First Merchants by 549.1% during the third quarter. Russell Investments Group Ltd. now owns 115,513 shares of the bank’s stock worth $5,197,000 after purchasing an additional 97,716 shares during the last quarter. Assenagon Asset Management S.A. bought a new position in First Merchants during the third quarter worth $1,977,000. Finally, Victory Capital Management Inc. lifted its stake in First Merchants by 20.8% during the third quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 13,142 shares of the bank’s stock worth $591,000 after purchasing an additional 2,264 shares during the last quarter. 71.89% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Shares of FRME stock traded down $0.29 during mid-day trading on Friday, reaching $39.24. 106,371 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 161,184. First Merchants has a fifty-two week low of $32.49 and a fifty-two week high of $50.44. The company has a current ratio of 0.92, a quick ratio of 0.92 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.32. The company has a market capitalization of $1.96 billion, a P/E ratio of 12.19, a PEG ratio of 1.64 and a beta of 0.98.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, March 15th. Stockholders of record on Friday, March 1st will be given a dividend of $0.22 per share. This represents a $0.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.24%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, February 28th. First Merchants’s payout ratio is currently 27.33%.

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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Earnings History and Estimates for First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME)

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