First Merchants (FRME) Downgraded by ValuEngine

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ValuEngine cut shares of First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note issued to investors on Thursday morning.

FRME has been the subject of several other reports. Zacks Investment Research lowered First Merchants from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Monday, October 1st. BidaskClub lowered First Merchants from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Wednesday, September 26th. Finally, Stephens lowered First Merchants from an overweight rating to an equal weight rating in a research report on Monday, July 30th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have assigned a hold rating and one has issued a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $49.33.

Shares of FRME stock traded down $0.34 during mid-day trading on Thursday, hitting $41.14. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 6,331 shares, compared to its average volume of 209,715. First Merchants has a 52 week low of $37.60 and a 52 week high of $50.44. The company has a current ratio of 0.93, a quick ratio of 0.93 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.45. The firm has a market cap of $2.06 billion, a PE ratio of 17.13, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.86 and a beta of 0.85.

First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, October 24th. The bank reported $0.83 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.80 by $0.03. First Merchants had a return on equity of 11.24% and a net margin of 30.43%. The firm had revenue of $106.01 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $104.90 million. On average, analysts forecast that First Merchants will post 3.18 earnings per share for the current year.

In related news, Director Michael C. Marhenke sold 26,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, August 21st. The stock was sold at an average price of $49.14, for a total value of $1,277,640.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 30,294 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,488,647.16. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, President Michael C. Rechin sold 15,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, August 20th. The shares were sold at an average price of $48.63, for a total value of $729,450.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 1.29% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Rhumbline Advisers increased its position in First Merchants by 15.4% in the 2nd quarter. Rhumbline Advisers now owns 60,729 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $2,818,000 after buying an additional 8,084 shares in the last quarter. Greenwood Capital Associates LLC bought a new stake in First Merchants in the 2nd quarter valued at about $227,000. First Allied Advisory Services Inc. bought a new stake in First Merchants in the 2nd quarter valued at about $213,000. Vaughan Nelson Investment Management L.P. increased its position in First Merchants by 0.8% in the 2nd quarter. Vaughan Nelson Investment Management L.P. now owns 1,828,622 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $84,848,000 after buying an additional 14,275 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Amalgamated Bank increased its position in First Merchants by 24.5% in the 2nd quarter. Amalgamated Bank now owns 6,714 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $312,000 after buying an additional 1,322 shares in the last quarter. 70.86% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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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