BidaskClub lowered shares of First Merchants Corporation (NASDAQ:FRME) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report issued on Thursday.

FRME has been the topic of a number of other reports. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods restated a buy rating and issued a $44.00 price objective on shares of First Merchants Corporation in a research note on Wednesday, April 5th. Zacks Investment Research cut First Merchants Corporation from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note on Tuesday, April 25th. Finally, ValuEngine upgraded First Merchants Corporation from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Friday, June 2nd. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, one has assigned a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the stock. First Merchants Corporation has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $39.67.

First Merchants Corporation (FRME) traded up 2.61% during trading on Thursday, reaching $40.44. 160,733 shares of the company were exchanged. The stock has a market capitalization of $1.75 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.47 and a beta of 0.93. First Merchants Corporation has a one year low of $25.84 and a one year high of $43.48. The firm’s 50 day moving average price is $40.46 and its 200-day moving average price is $39.83.

First Merchants Corporation (NASDAQ:FRME) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 27th. The bank reported $0.57 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.55 by $0.02. First Merchants Corporation had a return on equity of 9.96% and a net margin of 27.04%. The business had revenue of $81.53 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $78.75 million. On average, equities research analysts predict that First Merchants Corporation will post $2.29 earnings per share for the current year.

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In other news, Director Terry L. Walker sold 1,221 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, June 14th. The stock was sold at an average price of $42.30, for a total transaction of $51,648.30. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Corporate insiders own 1.41% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently made changes to their positions in FRME. Invictus RG bought a new stake in shares of First Merchants Corporation during the first quarter valued at $196,000. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. boosted its stake in shares of First Merchants Corporation by 0.3% in the first quarter. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. now owns 1,697,507 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $66,746,000 after buying an additional 4,432 shares in the last quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC boosted its stake in shares of First Merchants Corporation by 10.2% in the fourth quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC now owns 91,705 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $3,453,000 after buying an additional 8,514 shares in the last quarter. Diversified Portfolios Inc. boosted its stake in shares of First Merchants Corporation by 23.4% in the first quarter. Diversified Portfolios Inc. now owns 22,951 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $902,000 after buying an additional 4,347 shares in the last quarter. Finally, BlackRock Inc. boosted its stake in shares of First Merchants Corporation by 17,626.9% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 3,402,680 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $133,795,000 after buying an additional 3,383,485 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 67.56% of the company’s stock.

About First Merchants Corporation

First Merchants Corporation is a financial holding company. The Company has a bank charter, First Merchants Bank (the Bank), which is opened for business in Muncie, Indiana. It operates through community banking business segment. The Bank also operates Lafayette Bank and Trust, and First Merchants Private Wealth Advisors (each as a division of First Merchants Bank).

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