Shares of First Merchants Corp. (NASDAQ:FRME) saw unusually-strong trading volume on Monday . Approximately 103,937 shares were traded during trading, an increase of 27% from the previous session’s volume of 81,833 shares.The stock last traded at $27.18 and had previously closed at $27.22.

A number of equities analysts recently weighed in on FRME shares. Piper Jaffray Cos. started coverage on shares of First Merchants Corp. in a research report on Monday, July 11th. They set a “neutral” rating and a $27.00 target price for the company. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of First Merchants Corp. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $28.00 target price for the company in a research report on Monday, June 13th. DA Davidson started coverage on shares of First Merchants Corp. in a research report on Thursday, July 21st. They set a “buy” rating and a $29.00 target price for the company. Finally, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods upped their target price on shares of First Merchants Corp. from $27.00 to $28.50 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 27th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $27.90.

The firm has a market cap of $1.11 billion and a P/E ratio of 15.60. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $25.40 and its 200-day moving average price is $24.27.

First Merchants Corp. (NASDAQ:FRME) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, July 26th. The company reported $0.49 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.46 by $0.03. On average, analysts forecast that First Merchants Corp. will post $1.90 EPS for the current year.

In other news, Director Roderick English sold 2,500 shares of First Merchants Corp. stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, May 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $24.90, for a total transaction of $62,250.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 8,306 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $206,819.40. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website.

Several institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. California State Teachers Retirement System raised its position in First Merchants Corp. by 1.8% in the fourth quarter. California State Teachers Retirement System now owns 70,054 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,781,000 after buying an additional 1,248 shares during the period. First Trust Advisors LP raised its position in First Merchants Corp. by 60.3% in the fourth quarter. First Trust Advisors LP now owns 53,874 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,369,000 after buying an additional 20,267 shares during the period. New York State Common Retirement Fund raised its position in First Merchants Corp. by 0.5% in the fourth quarter. New York State Common Retirement Fund now owns 422,250 shares of the company’s stock valued at $10,734,000 after buying an additional 1,900 shares during the period. WBI Investments Inc. purchased a new position in First Merchants Corp. during the fourth quarter valued at $1,289,000. Finally, Dimensional Fund Advisors LP raised its position in First Merchants Corp. by 0.5% in the fourth quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 3,032,365 shares of the company’s stock valued at $77,084,000 after buying an additional 15,264 shares during the period.

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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