First Merchants Co. (NASDAQ:FRME) Given Consensus Recommendation of “Hold” by Brokerages

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Shares of First Merchants Co. (NASDAQ:FRME) have been given an average recommendation of “Hold” by the nine research firms that are covering the firm, Marketbeat reports. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell recommendation, three have assigned a hold recommendation and four have assigned a buy recommendation to the company. The average 1-year price objective among brokerages that have updated their coverage on the stock in the last year is $43.20.

Several brokerages have issued reports on FRME. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Tuesday, October 1st. ValuEngine upgraded shares of First Merchants from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, September 11th. Finally, Stephens upgraded shares of First Merchants from an “equal weight” rating to an “overweight” rating and set a $44.00 price target for the company in a research report on Tuesday, July 9th.

FRME stock traded up $0.35 during trading on Thursday, reaching $38.60. 211,077 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 201,763. The company has a 50-day moving average of $37.48 and a two-hundred day moving average of $36.99. The company has a market capitalization of $1.87 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.99 and a beta of 1.07. First Merchants has a twelve month low of $32.49 and a twelve month high of $43.16. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.40, a current ratio of 0.91 and a quick ratio of 0.91.

First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 25th. The bank reported $0.83 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.80 by $0.03. The business had revenue of $106.89 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $109.10 million. First Merchants had a net margin of 31.66% and a return on equity of 11.36%. On average, analysts forecast that First Merchants will post 3.26 EPS for the current year.

In other news, SVP Stephan Fluhler sold 3,873 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, September 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $38.98, for a total value of $150,969.54. Also, Director Charles E. Schalliol sold 7,300 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, September 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $37.98, for a total transaction of $277,254.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders acquired 134 shares of company stock valued at $4,981. Corporate insiders own 1.30% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently bought and sold shares of FRME. Captrust Financial Advisors boosted its stake in shares of First Merchants by 148.5% in the 2nd quarter. Captrust Financial Advisors now owns 656 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $25,000 after purchasing an additional 392 shares during the last quarter. Denali Advisors LLC bought a new position in First Merchants during the second quarter worth $125,000. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank boosted its stake in First Merchants by 38.7% during the second quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank now owns 3,991 shares of the bank’s stock worth $151,000 after acquiring an additional 1,114 shares in the last quarter. Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. bought a new position in First Merchants during the first quarter worth $151,000. Finally, Marshall Wace North America L.P. boosted its stake in First Merchants by 321.5% during the first quarter. Marshall Wace North America L.P. now owns 5,758 shares of the bank’s stock worth $212,000 after acquiring an additional 4,392 shares in the last quarter. 73.67% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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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Analyst Recommendations for First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME)

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