BidaskClub lowered shares of First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report released on Tuesday, BidAskClub reports.

FRME has been the subject of a number of other reports. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of First Merchants from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report on Thursday, January 9th. ValuEngine cut shares of First Merchants from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report on Wednesday, December 18th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, one has assigned a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $42.60.

NASDAQ:FRME traded down $0.23 on Tuesday, reaching $41.01. The stock had a trading volume of 14,393 shares, compared to its average volume of 127,078. The company has a current ratio of 0.87, a quick ratio of 0.87 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.28. The company has a 50-day moving average of $41.12 and a 200 day moving average of $38.79. The stock has a market cap of $2.28 billion, a P/E ratio of 12.80 and a beta of 1.08. First Merchants has a 12-month low of $33.00 and a 12-month high of $42.48.

First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 24th. The bank reported $0.88 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.80 by $0.08. The company had revenue of $111.05 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $109.87 million. First Merchants had a net margin of 29.88% and a return on equity of 10.36%. On average, equities analysts predict that First Merchants will post 3.36 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, December 20th. Stockholders of record on Friday, December 6th were paid a $0.26 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, December 5th. This represents a $1.04 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.54%. First Merchants’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 32.30%.

In other news, insider Jeffrey B. Lorentson sold 4,907 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, December 17th. The shares were sold at an average price of $41.89, for a total value of $205,554.23. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, EVP Michael J. Stewart sold 2,250 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, November 18th. The shares were sold at an average price of $40.99, for a total transaction of $92,227.50. Corporate insiders own 1.30% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Atlas Brown Inc. raised its stake in shares of First Merchants by 11.2% in the 4th quarter. Atlas Brown Inc. now owns 14,855 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $618,000 after purchasing an additional 1,498 shares in the last quarter. Evoke Wealth LLC acquired a new stake in First Merchants during the third quarter worth about $31,000. Millennium Management LLC raised its stake in First Merchants by 376.1% during the third quarter. Millennium Management LLC now owns 113,709 shares of the bank’s stock worth $4,279,000 after acquiring an additional 89,828 shares during the period. Squarepoint Ops LLC acquired a new stake in First Merchants during the third quarter worth about $325,000. Finally, Barclays PLC raised its stake in First Merchants by 17.2% during the third quarter. Barclays PLC now owns 43,041 shares of the bank’s stock worth $1,620,000 after acquiring an additional 6,317 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 70.81% of the company’s stock.

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.

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