First Merchants Co. (NASDAQ: FRME) Receives Average Analyst ‘Buy’ Recommendation

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First Merchants Co. (NASDAQ: FRME) has been given a consensus rating of “Buy” from the six brokerages that currently cover the stock, reports Marketbeat Ratings. One research analyst rated the stock with a keep recommendation and four gave the company a buy recommendation. The 1-year average price target among brokers who updated their stock coverage in the past year is $ 39.50.

A number of equity research analysts have recently commented on FRME stocks. Janney Montgomery Scott downgraded First Merchants from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a price target of $ 48.00 on the stock in a research report on Thursday, July 29. Zacks investment research downgraded First Merchants from a “buy” rating to a “keep” rating in a research report on Friday, August 13. Finally, Raymond James lowered his price target on First Merchants from $ 55.00 to $ 47.00 and set an “outperform” rating on the stock in a research report published on Wednesday, July 28.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently changed their positions in the company. Cullen Frost Bankers Inc. purchased a new position in First Merchants in the second quarter valued at $ 26,000. Berman Capital Advisors LLC purchased a new position in First Merchants shares in the 1st quarter valued at $ 28,000. William Blair Investment Management LLC purchased a new position in First Merchants shares in the second quarter valued at $ 70,000. Federated Hermes Inc. strengthened its position in First Merchants shares by 18.7% in the 2nd quarter. Federated Hermes Inc. now owns 2,569 shares of the bank valued at $ 107,000 after purchasing an additional 404 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. bought in the 1st quarter a new position in First Merchants shares for an amount of $ 151,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors hold 73.89% of the company’s shares.

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Actions of FRME opened for $ 39.03 on Friday. First Merchants has a one-year minimum of $ 21.50 and a one-year maximum of $ 50.65. The company has a current ratio of 0.78, a quick ratio of 0.78 and a debt ratio of 0.24. The stock has a 50-day simple moving average of $ 40.72 and a 200-day simple moving average of $ 43.95. The stock has a market cap of $ 2.11 billion, a PE ratio of 11.35 and a beta of 1.29.

First Merchants (NASDAQ: FRME) last released its results on Sunday, July 25. The bank reported earnings per share (EPS) of $ 1.03 for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate by $ 0.92 by $ 0.11. First Merchants recorded a return on equity of 10.09% and a net margin of 33.81%. The company posted revenue of $ 135.15 million in the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $ 131.17 million. On average, seller-side analysts predict that First Merchants will post 3.78 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently unveiled a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, September 17. Shareholders of record on Friday, September 3 will receive a dividend of $ 0.29. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, September 2. This represents a dividend of $ 1.16 on an annualized basis and a return of 2.97%. First Merchants’ payout ratio is 42.34%.

Company Profile First Merchants

First Merchants Corp. (Indiana) is a holding company that provides financial services. It also offers personal banking, business banking, mortgages, cash management and wealth management services. The company was founded in September 1982 and is headquartered in Muncie, IN.

Further reading: Moving Average (MA)

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