First Merchants Corp reduced its stake in shares of First Merchants Corp. (NASDAQ:FRME) by 14.6% during the second quarter, according to its most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm owned 14,046 shares of the company’s stock after selling 2,400 shares during the period. First Merchants Corp’s holdings in First Merchants Corp. were worth $350,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Several other institutional investors have also recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. increased its stake in shares of First Merchants Corp. by 16.0% in the first quarter. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. now owns 1,410,785 shares of the company’s stock worth $33,252,000 after buying an additional 194,382 shares in the last quarter. Bank of Montreal Can bought a new stake in shares of First Merchants Corp. during the second quarter worth about $1,766,000. Prudential Financial Inc. increased its stake in shares of 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. Virginia Retirement System bought a new stake in shares of First Merchants Corp. during the first quarter worth about $1,101,000. Finally, BlackRock Fund Advisors increased its stake in shares of 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. 75.24% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Shares of First Merchants Corp. (NASDAQ:FRME) traded up 0.49% during midday trading on Wednesday, hitting $26.88. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 51,709 shares. The firm has a market cap of $1.10 billion, a P/E ratio of 15.41 and a beta of 1.06. First Merchants Corp. has a 52-week low of $21.10 and a 52-week high of $27.60. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $26.98 and its 200-day moving average is $25.29.

First Merchants Corp. (NASDAQ:FRME) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, July 26th. The company reported $0.49 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.46 by $0.03. First Merchants Corp. had a net margin of 22.88% and a return on equity of 8.18%. Equities analysts predict that First Merchants Corp. will post $1.90 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, September 16th. Investors of record on Friday, September 2nd were issued a $0.14 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, August 31st. This represents a $0.56 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.08%. First Merchants Corp.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 32.18%.

A number of equities research analysts recently issued reports on FRME shares. Piper Jaffray Cos. started coverage on First Merchants Corp. in a research report on Monday, July 11th. They set a “neutral” rating and a $27.00 price target on the stock. Zacks Investment Research downgraded First Merchants Corp. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, June 28th. DA Davidson started coverage on First Merchants Corp. in a research report on Thursday, July 21st. They set a “buy” rating and a $29.00 price target on the stock. Finally, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods increased their price target 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. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $27.90.

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

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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