First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a "sell" rating to a "hold" rating in a research note issued to investors on Monday, Zacks.com reports.
According to Zacks, "FIRST MERCHANTS CORP. is a bank holding company engaged in conducting commercial banking business through the offices of its banking subsidiaries. "
A number of other research firms also recently issued reports on FRME. Stephens downgraded shares of First Merchants from an "overweight" rating to an "equal weight" rating in a research note on Thursday, April 9th. Piper Sandler dropped their price objective on shares of First Merchants from $32.00 to $30.00 and set an "overweight" rating on the stock in a research note on Friday, April 24th. Raymond James downgraded shares of First Merchants from an "outperform" rating to a "market perform" rating in a research note on Wednesday, June 17th. BidaskClub downgraded shares of First Merchants from a "sell" rating to a "strong sell" rating in a research note on Saturday, May 9th. Finally, TheStreet downgraded shares of First Merchants from a "b" rating to a "c+" rating in a research note on Friday, March 6th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have assigned a hold rating and one has given a buy rating to the company's stock. The stock currently has an average rating of "Hold" and an average target price of $34.33.
Shares of NASDAQ FRME traded down $1.00 during midday trading on Monday, reaching $25.64. 421,900 shares of the company's stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 225,630. The company has a quick ratio of 0.87, a current ratio of 0.87 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.34. The stock's 50 day simple moving average is $26.78 and its 200-day simple moving average is $32.86. First Merchants has a one year low of $21.18 and a one year high of $42.48. The company has a market cap of $1.39 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 8.46 and a beta of 1.16.
First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, April 23rd. The bank reported $0.62 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks' consensus estimate of $0.57 by $0.05. First Merchants had a net margin of 27.85% and a return on equity of 9.50%. The firm had revenue of $123.68 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $120.83 million. Equities analysts predict that First Merchants will post 2.25 EPS for the current fiscal year.
In other First Merchants news, CEO Michael C. Rechin sold 10,000 shares of the firm's stock in a transaction on Wednesday, May 20th. The shares were sold at an average price of $25.40, for a total value of $254,000.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, insider Michael J. Stewart sold 3,323 shares of the firm's stock in a transaction on Tuesday, May 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $26.86, for a total transaction of $89,255.78. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.30% of the stock is owned by company insiders.
Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of FRME. FDx Advisors Inc. purchased a new position in shares of First Merchants in the first quarter worth $50,000. Aigen Investment Management LP raised its holdings in shares of First Merchants by 6,253.1% during the first quarter. Aigen Investment Management LP now owns 3,113 shares of the bank's stock worth $82,000 after purchasing an additional 3,064 shares during the last quarter. First Bank & Trust raised its holdings in shares of First Merchants by 166.8% during the first quarter. First Bank & Trust now owns 3,279 shares of the bank's stock worth $87,000 after purchasing an additional 2,050 shares during the last quarter. Horizon Bancorp Inc. IN purchased a new position in shares of First Merchants during the fourth quarter worth $108,000. Finally, Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank raised its holdings in shares of First Merchants by 12.8% during the first quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank now owns 4,502 shares of the bank's stock worth $119,000 after purchasing an additional 511 shares during the last quarter. 70.78% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
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.
Further Reading: Limitations of the P/E Growth ratio
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