Systematic Financial Management LP boosted its stake in shares of First Merchants Co. (NASDAQ:FRME) by 1.3% during the 1st quarter, according to the company in its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund owned 65,610 shares of the bank’s stock after purchasing an additional 840 shares during the period. Systematic Financial Management LP’s holdings in First Merchants were worth $2,418,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.
A number of other large investors also recently added to or reduced their stakes in FRME. Bank of New York Mellon Corp grew its holdings in shares of First Merchants by 0.6% in the third quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 806,244 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $36,272,000 after purchasing an additional 4,917 shares in the last quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. grew its holdings in shares of First Merchants by 5.3% in the third quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 454,160 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $20,433,000 after purchasing an additional 22,719 shares in the last quarter. Legal & General Group Plc grew its holdings in shares of First Merchants by 18.1% in the third quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 18,221 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $820,000 after purchasing an additional 2,793 shares in the last quarter. Morgan Stanley grew its holdings in shares of First Merchants by 46.4% in the third quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 199,654 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $8,981,000 after purchasing an additional 63,278 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Vanguard Group Inc. grew its holdings in shares of First Merchants by 1.6% in the third quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 4,228,154 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $190,224,000 after purchasing an additional 65,034 shares in the last quarter. 71.95% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.
A number of research firms recently weighed in on FRME. BidaskClub raised shares of First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, March 6th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $44.00 target price for the company in a report on Monday, March 11th. Raymond James initiated coverage on First Merchants in a research report on Monday, April 8th. They issued an “outperform” rating and a $42.00 price target for the company. Piper Jaffray Companies set a $44.00 price target on First Merchants and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, April 10th. Finally, FIG Partners restated a “market-perform” rating on shares of First Merchants in a research report on Friday, February 1st. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $44.25.
Shares of FRME opened at $36.31 on Thursday. First Merchants Co. has a 52-week low of $32.49 and a 52-week high of $50.44. The firm has a market capitalization of $1.76 billion, a P/E ratio of 11.28, a P/E/G ratio of 1.52 and a beta of 0.94. The company has a quick ratio of 0.92, a current ratio of 0.91 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.33.
First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last released its earnings results on Thursday, April 25th. The bank reported $0.78 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.80 by ($0.02). First Merchants had a return on equity of 11.59% and a net margin of 32.34%. The business had revenue of $103.58 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $107.28 million. On average, sell-side analysts anticipate that First Merchants Co. will post 3.34 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, June 21st. Stockholders of record on Monday, May 20th will be paid a dividend of $0.26 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, May 17th. This represents a $1.04 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.86%. This is a positive change from First Merchants’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.22. First Merchants’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 27.33%.
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.
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