Piper Jaffray Companies reissued their hold rating on shares of First Merchants Co. (NASDAQ:FRME) in a research report report published on Thursday morning.

A number of other equities analysts have also commented on FRME. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reaffirmed a buy rating and issued a $44.00 price target on shares of First Merchants in a report on Wednesday, April 5th. Zacks Investment Research lowered First Merchants from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Tuesday, April 25th. ValuEngine raised First Merchants from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Friday, June 2nd. Finally, BidaskClub lowered First Merchants from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report on Saturday, June 24th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, one has issued a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock has a consensus rating of Buy and an average target price of $39.33.

First Merchants (NASDAQ FRME) traded up 0.42% during mid-day trading on Thursday, hitting $40.20. The stock had a trading volume of 90,584 shares. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $40.35 and its 200 day moving average is $39.92. First Merchants has a 12 month low of $25.84 and a 12 month high of $43.48. The company has a market cap of $1.73 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.36 and a beta of 0.92.

First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last released its earnings results on Thursday, July 27th. The bank reported $0.57 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.55 by $0.02. First Merchants had a return on equity of 9.75% and a net margin of 29.60%. The business had revenue of $81.53 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $78.75 million. Equities analysts anticipate that First Merchants will post $2.33 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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In other news, Director Terry L. Walker sold 1,221 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, June 14th. The stock was sold at an average price of $42.30, for a total value of $51,648.30. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Insiders bought 65 shares of company stock valued at $2,616 over the last ninety days. Corporate insiders own 1.41% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Teachers Advisors LLC raised its position in First Merchants by 10.2% in the fourth quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC now owns 91,705 shares of the bank’s stock worth $3,453,000 after buying an additional 8,514 shares during the last quarter. Nationwide Fund Advisors raised its position in First Merchants by 43.5% in the first quarter. Nationwide Fund Advisors now owns 177,858 shares of the bank’s stock worth $6,993,000 after buying an additional 53,910 shares during the last quarter. Fisher Asset Management LLC raised its position in First Merchants by 45.5% in the first quarter. Fisher Asset Management LLC now owns 60,514 shares of the bank’s stock worth $2,379,000 after buying an additional 18,924 shares during the last quarter. Russell Investments Group Ltd. raised its position in First Merchants by 12.5% in the first quarter. Russell Investments Group Ltd. now owns 313,680 shares of the bank’s stock worth $12,333,000 after buying an additional 34,732 shares during the last quarter. Finally, First Merchants Corp raised its position in First Merchants by 54.0% in the first quarter. First Merchants Corp now owns 21,796 shares of the bank’s stock worth $857,000 after buying an additional 7,642 shares during the last quarter. 67.56% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About First Merchants

First Merchants Corporation is a financial holding company. The Company has a bank charter, First Merchants Bank (the Bank), which is opened for business in Muncie, Indiana. It operates through community banking business segment. The Bank also operates Lafayette Bank and Trust, and First Merchants Private Wealth Advisors (each as a division of First Merchants Bank).

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