First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) Upgraded to Hold at ValuEngine

ValuEngine upgraded shares of First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report published on Thursday, ValuEngine reports.

FRME has been the topic of a number of other research reports. Zacks Investment Research upgraded First Merchants from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 24th. Raymond James started coverage on First Merchants in a research report on Monday, April 8th. They issued an outperform rating and a $42.00 price target on the stock. Stephens upgraded First Merchants from an equal weight rating to an overweight rating and set a $44.00 price target on the stock in a research report on Tuesday, July 9th. Piper Jaffray Companies set a $44.00 price target on First Merchants and gave the stock a buy rating in a research report on Wednesday, April 10th. Finally, Hovde Group started coverage on First Merchants in a research report on Wednesday, May 22nd. They issued a market perform rating and a $39.00 price target on the stock. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $43.33.

Shares of NASDAQ FRME traded down $1.12 during mid-day trading on Thursday, reaching $37.89. The company had a trading volume of 416,129 shares, compared to its average volume of 221,214. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.33, a quick ratio of 0.91 and a current ratio of 0.91. First Merchants has a one year low of $32.49 and a one year high of $49.85. The firm has a market cap of $1.94 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.77, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.72 and a beta of 1.03. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $37.39.

First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 25th. The bank reported $0.83 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.80 by $0.03. First Merchants had a return on equity of 11.55% and a net margin of 31.66%. The company had revenue of $106.89 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $109.10 million. Equities research analysts predict that First Merchants will post 3.23 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In other First Merchants news, Director Charles E. Schalliol sold 4,680 shares of First Merchants stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, June 18th. The stock was sold at an average price of $36.26, for a total value of $169,696.80. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Insiders own 1.30% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in FRME. Strs Ohio bought a new position in First Merchants in the first quarter valued at about $25,000. Denali Advisors LLC bought a new position in First Merchants in the second quarter valued at about $125,000. Bank of Montreal Can grew its position in First Merchants by 106.4% in the first quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 3,953 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $146,000 after acquiring an additional 2,038 shares during the last quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank grew its position in First Merchants by 38.7% in the second quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank now owns 3,991 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $151,000 after acquiring an additional 1,114 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. bought a new position in First Merchants in the first quarter valued at about $151,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 73.37% of the company’s stock.

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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