Shares of First Merchants Corp. (NASDAQ:FRME) saw unusually-strong trading volume on Friday . Approximately 196,382 shares changed hands 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.

A number of analysts recently weighed in on FRME shares. Zacks Investment Research upgraded First Merchants Corp. from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, May 2nd. Piper Jaffray Cos. started 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. DA Davidson started 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, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods boosted 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. Three analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $27.90.

The company has a 50-day moving average price of $26.33 and a 200 day moving average price of $24.72. The company has a market cap of $1.11 billion and a price-to-earnings ratio of 15.60.

First Merchants Corp. (NASDAQ:FRME) last issued 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. Equities analysts predict that First Merchants Corp. will post $1.90 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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

In other First Merchants Corp. news, insider John Martin sold 5,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 18th. The stock was 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 sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this link.

A hedge fund recently raised its stake in First Merchants Corp. stock. Bank of Montreal Can increased its position in First Merchants Corp. (NASDAQ:FRME) by 3.9% during the fourth quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the SEC. The firm owned 73,247 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 2,781 shares during the period. Bank of Montreal Can owned approximately 0.18% of First Merchants Corp. worth $1,863,000 at the end of the most recent reporting 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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