Shares of First Merchants Corp. (NASDAQ:FRME) saw an uptick in trading volume on Friday . 103,057 shares changed hands during mid-day trading, an increase of 15% from the previous session’s volume of 89,428 shares.The stock last traded at $27.17 and had previously closed at $27.08.

A number of brokerages recently issued reports on FRME. Zacks Investment Research raised First Merchants Corp. from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Monday, May 2nd. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods upped their target price on First Merchants Corp. from $27.00 to $28.50 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 27th. DA Davidson assumed coverage on First Merchants Corp. in a research report on Thursday, July 21st. They issued a “buy” rating and a $29.00 target price for the company. Finally, Piper Jaffray Cos. assumed coverage on First Merchants Corp. in a research report on Monday, July 11th. They issued a “neutral” rating and a $27.00 target price for the company. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the stock. First Merchants Corp. has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $27.90.

The stock has a market capitalization of $1.11 billion and a PE ratio of 15.56. The firm has a 50 day moving average price of $26.01 and a 200-day moving average price of $24.55.

First Merchants Corp. (NASDAQ:FRME) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, July 26th. The company reported $0.49 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.46 by $0.03. Analysts predict that First Merchants Corp. will post $1.90 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, September 16th. Shareholders of record on Friday, September 2nd will be paid a dividend of $0.14 per share. This represents a $0.56 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.06%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, August 31st.

Other hedge funds and institutional investors have made changes to their positions in the company. Swiss National Bank boosted its position in shares of First Merchants Corp. by 12.4% in the fourth quarter. Swiss National Bank now owns 47,762 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,214,000 after buying an additional 5,262 shares in the last quarter. Rhumbline Advisers boosted its position in shares of First Merchants Corp. by 2.7% in the fourth quarter. Rhumbline Advisers now owns 52,936 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,346,000 after buying an additional 1,375 shares in the last quarter. First Trust Advisors LP boosted its position in shares of First Merchants Corp. by 60.3% in the fourth quarter. First Trust Advisors LP now owns 53,874 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,369,000 after buying an additional 20,267 shares in the last quarter. Piermont Capital Management Inc. acquired a new position in shares of First Merchants Corp. during the fourth quarter worth approximately $1,514,000. Finally, Bank of Montreal Can boosted its position in shares of First Merchants Corp. by 3.9% in the fourth quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 73,247 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,863,000 after buying an additional 2,781 shares in the last quarter.

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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