Zacks Investment Research Upgrades First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) to Hold

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First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued on Tuesday, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “FIRST MERCHANTS CORP. is a bank holding company engaged in conducting commercial banking business through the offices of its banking subsidiaries. “

Several other research firms have also weighed in on FRME. BidaskClub lowered First Merchants from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, March 12th. Piper Jaffray Companies set a $44.00 price objective on First Merchants and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, April 10th. Raymond James assumed coverage on First Merchants in a research report on Monday, April 8th. They issued an “outperform” rating and a $42.00 target price for the company. Finally, Hovde Group assumed coverage on First Merchants in a research report on Wednesday, May 22nd. They issued a “market perform” rating and a $39.00 target price for the company. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have given a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $43.20.

FRME opened at $35.68 on Tuesday. The firm has a market cap of $1.77 billion, a PE ratio of 11.08, a P/E/G ratio of 1.48 and a beta of 0.99. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.33, a current ratio of 0.91 and a quick ratio of 0.91. First Merchants has a fifty-two week low of $32.49 and a fifty-two week high of $50.44.

First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, April 25th. The bank reported $0.78 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.80 by ($0.02). The company had revenue of $103.58 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $107.28 million. First Merchants had a return on equity of 11.59% and a net margin of 32.34%. Equities research analysts forecast that First Merchants will post 3.36 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Several institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Brown Advisory Inc. boosted its position in shares of First Merchants by 1.1% in the fourth quarter. Brown Advisory Inc. now owns 42,216 shares of the bank’s stock worth $1,447,000 after buying an additional 472 shares during the period. Victory Capital Management Inc. boosted its position in shares of First Merchants by 4.1% in the fourth quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 13,675 shares of the bank’s stock worth $469,000 after buying an additional 533 shares during the period. Strs Ohio purchased a new stake in shares of First Merchants during the first quarter worth $25,000. Alps Advisors Inc. raised its holdings in shares of First Merchants by 8.5% during the first quarter. Alps Advisors Inc. now owns 10,209 shares of the bank’s stock worth $376,000 after acquiring an additional 800 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Resources Investment Advisors Inc. purchased a new stake in shares of First Merchants during the fourth quarter worth $29,000. 73.83% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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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Analyst Recommendations for First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME)

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