First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) was downgraded by analysts at BidaskClub from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report released on Thursday.

Other research analysts have also issued reports about the company. Zacks Investment Research lowered First Merchants from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Monday, October 2nd. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $47.00 target price on shares of First Merchants in a report on Sunday, October 29th. Piper Jaffray Companies reiterated a “neutral” rating and set a $46.00 target price on shares of First Merchants in a report on Friday, October 6th. Finally, ValuEngine upgraded First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Sunday, December 31st. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have assigned a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $47.33.

Shares of First Merchants (NASDAQ FRME) opened at $42.17 on Thursday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.43, a quick ratio of 0.93 and a current ratio of 0.93. The company has a market capitalization of $2,074.32, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.43, a P/E/G ratio of 2.21 and a beta of 0.91. First Merchants has a 52 week low of $35.26 and a 52 week high of $45.42.

First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The bank reported $0.50 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.55 by ($0.05). The business had revenue of $93.09 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $97.45 million. First Merchants had a return on equity of 9.56% and a net margin of 26.28%. analysts anticipate that First Merchants will post 2.26 EPS for the current year.

In related news, Director Terry L. Walker bought 3,176 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, December 15th. The shares were acquired at an average price of $42.69 per share, for a total transaction of $135,583.44. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, insider Mark K. Hardwick sold 4,301 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, November 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $42.61, for a total value of $183,265.61. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders bought 5,200 shares of company stock worth $223,978. Corporate insiders own 1.41% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in FRME. Advisor Group Inc. raised its holdings in First Merchants by 8.3% during the second quarter. Advisor Group Inc. now owns 2,981 shares of the bank’s stock worth $120,000 after acquiring an additional 228 shares in the last quarter. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. raised its holdings in First Merchants by 1.7% during the second quarter. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. now owns 3,029 shares of the bank’s stock worth $122,000 after acquiring an additional 50 shares in the last quarter. Quantbot Technologies LP raised its holdings in First Merchants by 2,048.6% during the second quarter. Quantbot Technologies LP now owns 3,975 shares of the bank’s stock worth $159,000 after acquiring an additional 3,790 shares in the last quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. acquired a new position in First Merchants during the third quarter worth approximately $172,000. Finally, Victory Capital Management Inc. increased its position in First Merchants by 17.6% during the second quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 5,155 shares of the bank’s stock worth $207,000 after buying an additional 771 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 69.15% of the company’s stock.

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About First Merchants

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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