First Merchants Corp. (NASDAQ:FRME) shares saw unusually-high trading volume on Friday . Approximately 196,382 shares were traded during mid-day trading, an increase of 84% from the previous session’s volume of 106,700 shares.The stock last traded at $27.20 and had previously closed at $27.25.

Several equities analysts have commented on FRME shares. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of First Merchants Corp. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, June 28th. 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 on the stock. 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 on the stock. Finally, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods increased 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 equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. First Merchants Corp. presently 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 P/E ratio of 15.60. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $26.33 and its 200-day moving average price is $24.72.

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

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

In other news, insider John Martin sold 5,000 shares of First Merchants Corp. stock in a transaction on Thursday, August 18th. The shares were sold at an average price of $26.92, for a total transaction of $134,600.00. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 31,921 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $859,313.32. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website.

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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