Wall Street brokerages expect that First Merchants Co. (NASDAQ:FRME) will announce $98.35 million in sales for the current fiscal quarter, Zacks Investment Research reports. Two analysts have made estimates for First Merchants’ earnings, with estimates ranging from $95.20 million to $101.50 million. First Merchants reported sales of $75.85 million during the same quarter last year, which would suggest a positive year-over-year growth rate of 29.7%. The business is scheduled to issue its next earnings results on Thursday, April 26th.
According to Zacks, analysts expect that First Merchants will report full year sales of $98.35 million for the current fiscal year, with estimates ranging from $398.80 million to $416.00 million. For the next financial year, analysts forecast that the firm will post sales of $438.55 million per share, with estimates ranging from $424.40 million to $452.70 million. Zacks’ sales calculations are a mean average based on a survey of research firms that follow First Merchants.
First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, January 25th. The bank reported $0.61 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, hitting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.61. The firm had revenue of $97.83 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $98.30 million. First Merchants had a return on equity of 9.47% and a net margin of 24.90%.
A number of equities analysts have recently weighed in on FRME shares. Piper Jaffray reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $48.00 target price on shares of First Merchants in a report on Sunday, January 28th. BidaskClub downgraded First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Thursday, January 4th. Zacks Investment Research downgraded First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Thursday. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $52.00 target price on shares of First Merchants in a report on Thursday, January 25th. Finally, ValuEngine upgraded First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Sunday, December 31st. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have issued a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $49.67.
Shares of FRME traded down $0.45 during trading hours on Wednesday, reaching $41.25. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 179,487 shares, compared to its average volume of 156,271. The company has a market capitalization of $2,064.39, a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.75, a P/E/G ratio of 2.01 and a beta of 0.91. First Merchants has a 1-year low of $37.03 and a 1-year high of $45.42. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.42, a current ratio of 0.93 and a quick ratio of 0.93.
The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, March 16th. Stockholders of record on Friday, March 2nd were issued a $0.18 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, March 1st. This represents a $0.72 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.75%. First Merchants’s dividend payout ratio is 29.88%.
In other news, insider Michael J. Stewart sold 2,219 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, February 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $42.60, for a total value of $94,529.40. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 55,706 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,373,075.60. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. 1.29% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.
Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in FRME. Cardinal Capital Management LLC CT grew its stake in shares of First Merchants by 1,533.9% in the 4th quarter. Cardinal Capital Management LLC CT now owns 1,089,837 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $45,838,000 after buying an additional 1,023,137 shares in the last quarter. Kennedy Capital Management Inc. grew its stake in shares of First Merchants by 130.9% in the 4th quarter. Kennedy Capital Management Inc. now owns 393,935 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $16,569,000 after buying an additional 223,293 shares in the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp grew its stake in shares of First Merchants by 21.1% in the 4th quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 944,229 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $39,714,000 after buying an additional 164,389 shares in the last quarter. Allianz Asset Management GmbH grew its stake in shares of First Merchants by 94.4% in the 4th quarter. Allianz Asset Management GmbH now owns 293,659 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $12,351,000 after buying an additional 142,589 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Boston Partners grew its stake in shares of First Merchants by 9.2% in the 4th quarter. Boston Partners now owns 536,990 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $22,585,000 after buying an additional 45,031 shares in the last quarter. 70.14% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
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About First Merchants
First Merchants Corporation operates as the financial holding company for First Merchants Bank that provides community banking services. It accepts time, savings, and demand deposits; and provides consumer, commercial, agri-business, and real estate mortgage loans, as well as rents safe deposit facilities.
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