Metropolitan Life Insurance Co NY lifted its position in First Merchants Co. (NASDAQ:FRME) by 9.6% during the 1st quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund owned 17,566 shares of the bank’s stock after purchasing an additional 1,539 shares during the quarter. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co NY’s holdings in First Merchants were worth $647,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.
Other hedge funds have also recently modified their holdings of the company. Strs Ohio bought a new stake in shares of First Merchants in the first quarter worth about $25,000. Resources Investment Advisors Inc. bought a new stake in shares of First Merchants in the fourth quarter worth about $29,000. Bessemer Group Inc. bought a new stake in shares of First Merchants in the fourth quarter worth about $67,000. Bank of Montreal Can increased its holdings in shares of First Merchants by 106.4% in the first quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 3,953 shares of the bank’s stock worth $146,000 after purchasing an additional 2,038 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Ullmann Financial Group Inc. bought a new stake in shares of First Merchants in the first quarter worth about $206,000. 73.38% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
In other First Merchants news, Director Charles E. Schalliol sold 4,680 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, June 18th. The stock was sold at an average price of $36.26, for a total transaction of $169,696.80. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. In the last 90 days, insiders have acquired 76 shares of company stock valued at $2,656. 1.30% of the stock is owned by company insiders.
First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, April 25th. The bank reported $0.78 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.80 by ($0.02). The firm had revenue of $103.58 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $107.28 million. First Merchants had a net margin of 32.34% and a return on equity of 11.59%. As a group, equities research analysts anticipate that First Merchants Co. will post 3.31 EPS for the current year.
The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, June 21st. Shareholders of record on Monday, May 20th were issued a dividend of $0.26 per share. The ex-dividend date was Friday, May 17th. This represents a $1.04 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.77%. This is a positive change from First Merchants’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.22. First Merchants’s dividend payout ratio is currently 32.30%.
FRME has been the topic of several analyst reports. Piper Jaffray Companies set a $44.00 price objective on First Merchants and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, April 10th. Hovde Group initiated coverage on First Merchants in a research note on Wednesday, May 22nd. They set a “market perform” rating and a $39.00 price objective on the stock. BidaskClub raised YRC Worldwide from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Saturday, April 13th. Stephens began coverage on LiqTech International in a research note on Tuesday, July 9th. They set an “overweight” rating and a $13.00 price objective on the stock. Finally, Zacks Investment Research cut General Finance from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Monday, July 15th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, two have issued a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the company. The company has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $43.33.
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.
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