Russell Investments Group Ltd. lowered its stake in shares of First Merchants Corporation (NASDAQ:FRME) by 12.5% in the 3rd quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 237,203 shares of the bank’s stock after selling 33,821 shares during the quarter. Russell Investments Group Ltd. owned 0.48% of First Merchants worth $10,183,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Other institutional investors also recently made changes to their positions in the company. Advisor Group Inc. grew 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 buying an additional 228 shares in the last quarter. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. grew its stake in First Merchants by 1.7% in the 2nd quarter. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. now owns 3,029 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $122,000 after purchasing an additional 50 shares during the period. Quantbot Technologies LP grew its stake in First Merchants by 2,048.6% in the 2nd quarter. Quantbot Technologies LP now owns 3,975 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $159,000 after purchasing an additional 3,790 shares during the period. Victory Capital Management Inc. grew its stake in First Merchants by 17.6% in the 2nd quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 5,155 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $207,000 after purchasing an additional 771 shares during the period. Finally, Amalgamated Bank grew its stake in First Merchants by 1.1% in the 2nd quarter. Amalgamated Bank now owns 5,181 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $208,000 after purchasing an additional 58 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 69.80% of the company’s stock.

In other news, Director Michael C. Marhenke purchased 2,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, November 29th. The shares were purchased at an average price of $43.68 per share, with a total value of $87,360.00. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 33,543 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,465,158.24. The purchase was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, insider Mark K. Hardwick sold 4,301 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, November 7th. The shares were 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. Insiders have bought a total of 2,024 shares of company stock worth $88,391 in the last ninety days. Insiders own 1.41% of the company’s stock.

First Merchants Corporation (FRME) opened at $44.16 on Tuesday. The stock has a market capitalization of $2,159.33, a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.19, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.74 and a beta of 0.90. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.43, a current ratio of 0.93 and a quick ratio of 0.93. First Merchants Corporation has a 12 month low of $34.99 and a 12 month high of $45.42.

First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 26th. The bank reported $0.50 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.55 by ($0.05). The business had revenue of $93.09 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $97.45 million. First Merchants had a net margin of 26.28% and a return on equity of 9.56%. equities research analysts expect that First Merchants Corporation will post 2.29 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 15th. Stockholders of record on Friday, December 1st will be given a dividend of $0.18 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, November 30th. This represents a $0.72 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.63%. First Merchants’s dividend payout ratio is presently 33.03%.

A number of research analysts have issued reports on FRME shares. Zacks Investment Research upgraded First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $43.00 price objective for the company in a research note on Wednesday, August 23rd. Piper Jaffray Companies restated a “neutral” rating and issued a $46.00 price objective on shares of First Merchants in a research note on Friday, October 6th. Finally, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods restated a “buy” rating and issued a $47.00 price objective on shares of First Merchants in a research note on Sunday, October 29th. 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. First Merchants currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $47.33.

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First Merchants Profile

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).

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME)

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