The First Merchants Corp. (FRME) Stock Rating Upgrade by The Zacks Investment Research

The First Merchants Corp. (FRME) Stock Rating Upgrade by The Zacks Investment Research

First Merchants Corp. (NASDAQ:FRME) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued on Thursday. The brokerage presently has a $32.00 price objective on the stock. Zacks Investment Research’s price target would suggest a potential upside of 15.11% from the company’s current price.

According to Zacks, “FIRST MERCHANTS CORP. is a bank holding company engaged in conducting commercial banking business through the offices of its banking subsidiaries. “

Several other analysts have also recently issued reports on FRME. Piper Jaffray Cos. initiated coverage on First Merchants Corp. in a research note on Monday, July 11th. They issued a “neutral” rating and a $27.00 price objective on the stock. DA Davidson initiated coverage on First Merchants Corp. in a research note on Thursday, July 21st. They issued a “buy” rating and a $29.00 price objective on the stock. Finally, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods increased their price objective on First Merchants Corp. from $27.00 to $28.50 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research note on Wednesday, July 27th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $28.90.

First Merchants Corp. (NASDAQ:FRME) opened at 27.80 on Thursday. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $27.03 and a 200 day moving average price of $25.99. First Merchants Corp. has a one year low of $21.10 and a one year high of $28.97. The firm has a market cap of $1.13 billion, a PE ratio of 15.39 and a beta of 1.05.

First Merchants Corp. (NASDAQ:FRME) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, October 25th. The company reported $0.51 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.49 by $0.02. First Merchants Corp. had a return on equity of 8.40% and a net margin of 23.59%. Equities research analysts expect that First Merchants Corp. will post $1.93 EPS for the current year.

In other First Merchants Corp. news, insider Michael J. Stewart sold 3,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, August 25th. The stock was sold at an average price of $27.24, for a total value of $95,340.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, insider John Martin sold 5,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, August 18th. The shares were sold at an average price of $26.92, for a total value of $134,600.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 31,921 shares in the company, valued at $859,313.32. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.62% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC boosted its stake in First Merchants Corp. by 11.5% in the first quarter. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC now owns 148,468 shares of the company’s stock worth $3,499,000 after buying an additional 15,323 shares in the last quarter. Teachers Advisors Inc. boosted its stake in First Merchants Corp. by 5.2% in the first quarter. Teachers Advisors Inc. now owns 74,610 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,759,000 after buying an additional 3,665 shares in the last quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. boosted its stake in First Merchants Corp. by 26.6% in the first quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. now owns 275,452 shares of the company’s stock worth $6,492,000 after buying an additional 57,800 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors boosted its stake in First Merchants Corp. by 4.3% in the first quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors now owns 1,026,875 shares of the company’s stock worth $24,203,000 after buying an additional 42,539 shares in the last quarter. Finally, BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. boosted its stake in First Merchants Corp. by 3.4% in the first quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. now owns 1,124,355 shares of the company’s stock worth $26,501,000 after buying an additional 37,002 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 75.85% of the company’s stock.

About First Merchants Corp.

First Merchants Corporation is a financial holding Company. The Company has a bank charter, First Merchants Bank, National Association (the Bank), which is opened for business in Muncie, Indiana. The Bank also operates Lafayette Bank and Trust, Ameriana Bank, Ameriana Financial Services and First Merchants Trust Company as divisions of First Merchants Bank, N.A.

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