Norris Perne & French LLP MI trimmed its stake in shares of First Merchants Co. (NASDAQ:FRME) by 16.9% during the fourth quarter, according to the company in its most recent disclosure with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The firm owned 14,732 shares of the bank’s stock after selling 3,000 shares during the period. Norris Perne & French LLP MI’s holdings in First Merchants were worth $613,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

A number of other institutional investors and hedge funds also recently bought and sold shares of FRME. California Public Employees Retirement System increased its holdings in First Merchants by 50.1% during the 3rd quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 156,411 shares of the bank’s stock worth $5,887,000 after purchasing an additional 52,221 shares in the last quarter. State Street Corp raised its position in First Merchants by 5.3% in the 3rd quarter. State Street Corp now owns 1,526,296 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $57,442,000 after buying an additional 76,888 shares during the last quarter. Rhumbline Advisers lifted its stake in First Merchants by 12.6% in the 3rd quarter. Rhumbline Advisers now owns 104,645 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $3,938,000 after acquiring an additional 11,725 shares in the last quarter. Squarepoint Ops LLC acquired a new position in First Merchants during the 3rd quarter worth approximately $325,000. Finally, Russell Investments Group Ltd. boosted its position in First Merchants by 5.4% during the 3rd quarter. Russell Investments Group Ltd. now owns 103,481 shares of the bank’s stock worth $3,894,000 after acquiring an additional 5,265 shares during the last quarter. 70.79% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

In related news, EVP Michael J. Stewart sold 2,250 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, November 18th. The shares were sold at an average price of $40.99, for a total value of $92,227.50. Also, insider Jeffrey B. Lorentson sold 4,907 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, December 17th. The shares were sold at an average price of $41.89, for a total transaction of $205,554.23. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.30% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of brokerages have recently commented on FRME. BidaskClub lowered shares of First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Tuesday, January 14th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of First Merchants from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Monday. Finally, ValuEngine cut shares of First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Wednesday, December 18th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, two have given a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $42.60.

FRME stock traded down $0.01 during mid-day trading on Wednesday, reaching $40.83. The company had a trading volume of 6,261 shares, compared to its average volume of 104,181. The company has a market capitalization of $2.31 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 12.86 and a beta of 1.08. First Merchants Co. has a 52 week low of $33.00 and a 52 week high of $42.48. The stock has a 50 day simple moving average of $41.22 and a two-hundred day simple moving average of $38.92. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.28, a current ratio of 0.87 and a quick ratio of 0.87.

First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 24th. The bank reported $0.88 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.80 by $0.08. First Merchants had a return on equity of 10.36% and a net margin of 29.88%. The company had revenue of $111.05 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $109.87 million. On average, equities analysts predict that First Merchants Co. will post 3.36 EPS for the current year.

First Merchants Profile

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.

Further Reading: Initial Coin Offering (ICO)

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

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