First Merchants Co. (FRME) Expected to Post Earnings of $0.79 Per Share

Wall Street brokerages expect First Merchants Co. (NASDAQ:FRME) to report earnings of $0.79 per share for the current quarter, according to Zacks. Four analysts have made estimates for First Merchants’ earnings, with the lowest EPS estimate coming in at $0.69 and the highest estimate coming in at $0.85. First Merchants reported earnings per share of $0.80 in the same quarter last year, which would suggest a negative year over year growth rate of 1.3%. The firm is expected to issue its next quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, July 24th.

On average, analysts expect that First Merchants will report full year earnings of $3.34 per share for the current fiscal year, with EPS estimates ranging from $3.07 to $3.45. For the next financial year, analysts expect that the company will post earnings of $3.63 per share, with EPS estimates ranging from $3.50 to $3.72. Zacks Investment Research’s EPS averages are a mean average based on a survey of sell-side research firms that follow First Merchants.

First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, April 25th. The bank reported $0.78 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ 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 company had revenue of $103.58 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $107.28 million.

FRME has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. Zacks Investment Research raised First Merchants from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, January 24th. FIG Partners reissued a “market-perform” rating on shares of First Merchants in a report on Friday, February 1st. BidaskClub raised First Merchants from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, February 14th. Raymond James initiated coverage on First Merchants in a report on Monday, April 8th. They issued an “outperform” rating and a $42.00 target price for the company. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies set a $44.00 target price on First Merchants and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, April 10th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have given a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $43.20.

Shares of FRME traded down $0.67 during mid-day trading on Wednesday, reaching $35.34. The company had a trading volume of 325,644 shares, compared to its average volume of 174,870. First Merchants has a twelve month low of $32.49 and a twelve month high of $50.44. The company has a current ratio of 0.91, a quick ratio of 0.92 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.33. The stock has a market cap of $1.78 billion, a PE ratio of 10.98, a PEG ratio of 1.52 and a beta of 0.94.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, June 21st. Investors of record on Monday, May 20th will be issued a dividend of $0.26 per share. This represents a $1.04 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.94%. This is a boost from First Merchants’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.22. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, May 17th. First Merchants’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 27.33%.

Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Federated Investors Inc. PA increased its stake in shares of First Merchants by 164.0% in the third quarter. Federated Investors Inc. PA now owns 129,667 shares of the bank’s stock worth $5,834,000 after purchasing an additional 80,555 shares in the last quarter. Bowling Portfolio Management LLC raised its position in First Merchants by 64.9% in the 4th quarter. Bowling Portfolio Management LLC now owns 40,971 shares of the bank’s stock worth $1,404,000 after purchasing an additional 16,127 shares during the period. Two Sigma Investments LP purchased a new position in First Merchants in the 4th quarter worth $977,000. JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised its position in First Merchants by 5.3% in the 3rd quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 454,160 shares of the bank’s stock worth $20,433,000 after purchasing an additional 22,719 shares during the period. Finally, Rhumbline Advisers raised its position in First Merchants by 35.1% in the 4th quarter. Rhumbline Advisers now owns 83,377 shares of the bank’s stock worth $2,857,000 after purchasing an additional 21,676 shares during the period. 71.95% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

First Merchants Company 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.

See Also: Preferred Stock

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

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