First Merchants Co. (NASDAQ:FRME) Director Sells $169,696.80 in Stock

First Merchants Co. (NASDAQ:FRME) Director Charles E. Schalliol sold 4,680 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, June 18th. The stock was sold at an average price of $36.26, for a total transaction of $169,696.80. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link.

Shares of NASDAQ FRME traded up $0.28 during mid-day trading on Friday, hitting $37.88. The company had a trading volume of 228,855 shares, compared to its average volume of 334,273. The firm has a market capitalization of $1.87 billion, a P/E ratio of 11.76, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.62 and a beta of 1.04. First Merchants Co. has a 1 year low of $32.49 and a 1 year high of $50.44. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.33, a current ratio of 0.91 and a quick ratio of 0.91. The business’s 50-day simple moving average is $36.00.

First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, April 25th. The bank reported $0.78 EPS for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.80 by ($0.02). First Merchants had a return on equity of 11.59% and a net margin of 32.34%. The business had revenue of $103.58 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $107.28 million. As a group, research analysts forecast that First Merchants Co. will post 3.31 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, June 21st. Shareholders of record on Monday, May 20th were paid a dividend of $0.26 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, May 17th. This represents a $1.04 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.75%. This is a positive change from First Merchants’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.22. First Merchants’s payout ratio is 32.30%.

A number of research firms have recently weighed in on FRME. Raymond James reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of First Quantum Minerals in a research report on Monday, April 8th. Hovde Group began coverage on First Merchants in a research note on Wednesday, May 22nd. They set a “market perform” rating and a $39.00 target price for the company. Stephens began coverage on LiqTech International in a research note on Tuesday. They issued an “overweight” rating and a $13.00 price objective for the company. Zacks Investment Research upgraded DLH from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies set a $44.00 target price on First Merchants and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, April 10th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have issued a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $43.33.

A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the business. Denali Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in First Merchants during the 2nd quarter valued at $125,000. Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. bought a new position in shares of First Merchants during the 1st quarter valued at $151,000. First Trust Advisors LP lifted its holdings in shares of First Merchants by 5.7% during the 1st quarter. First Trust Advisors LP now owns 168,710 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $6,217,000 after buying an additional 9,071 shares during the period. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co NY lifted its holdings in shares of First Merchants by 9.6% during the 1st quarter. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co NY now owns 17,566 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $647,000 after buying an additional 1,539 shares during the period. Finally, MetLife Investment Advisors LLC lifted its holdings in shares of First Merchants by 9.4% during the 1st quarter. MetLife Investment Advisors LLC now owns 24,818 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $915,000 after buying an additional 2,123 shares during the period. 73.40% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other 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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