First Merchants Co. (NASDAQ:FRME) Short Interest Down 14.2% in October

First Merchants Co. (NASDAQ:FRMEGet Rating) was the target of a significant decrease in short interest in October. As of October 31st, there was short interest totalling 719,400 shares, a decrease of 14.2% from the October 15th total of 838,100 shares. Based on an average trading volume of 159,300 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 4.5 days.

Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades

A number of research firms recently issued reports on FRME. Stephens increased their price objective on shares of First Merchants to $50.00 in a research note on Tuesday, August 23rd. Raymond James boosted their price objective on First Merchants from $48.00 to $52.00 and gave the stock a “strong-buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, October 26th. StockNews.com began coverage on shares of First Merchants in a report on Wednesday, October 12th. They issued a “hold” rating for the company. Finally, Piper Sandler boosted their target price on shares of First Merchants to $46.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 27th.

First Merchants Stock Down 0.4 %

Shares of NASDAQ:FRME opened at $42.88 on Tuesday. The business’s 50 day simple moving average is $41.79 and its two-hundred day simple moving average is $40.00. The firm has a market cap of $2.55 billion, a P/E ratio of 12.22 and a beta of 1.10. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.38, a quick ratio of 0.78 and a current ratio of 0.78. First Merchants has a 52-week low of $34.07 and a 52-week high of $46.12.

First Merchants Dividend Announcement

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 16th. Shareholders of record on Friday, December 2nd will be issued a $0.32 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, December 1st. This represents a $1.28 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.99%. First Merchants’s payout ratio is currently 36.47%.

Insider Activity at First Merchants

In other First Merchants news, insider Stephan Fluhler sold 3,174 shares of First Merchants stock in a transaction dated Monday, October 31st. The shares were sold at an average price of $44.29, for a total value of $140,576.46. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 22,576 shares in the company, valued at approximately $999,891.04. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. In other news, Director Charles E. Schalliol sold 24,523 shares of First Merchants stock in a transaction on Friday, October 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $44.25, for a total value of $1,085,142.75. Following the transaction, the director now owns 32,020 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,416,885. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, insider Stephan Fluhler sold 3,174 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, October 31st. The stock was sold at an average price of $44.29, for a total value of $140,576.46. Following the sale, the insider now owns 22,576 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $999,891.04. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.24% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Institutional Inflows and Outflows

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its holdings in First Merchants by 8.1% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 5,708,968 shares of the bank’s stock worth $237,493,000 after acquiring an additional 426,862 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. lifted its holdings in shares of First Merchants by 0.8% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 3,988,756 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $165,932,000 after purchasing an additional 33,505 shares in the last quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP lifted its holdings in shares of First Merchants by 1.4% in the third quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 2,799,943 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $108,303,000 after purchasing an additional 39,119 shares in the last quarter. State Street Corp lifted its holdings in shares of First Merchants by 7.9% in the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 1,882,370 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $78,307,000 after purchasing an additional 137,877 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Principal Financial Group Inc. lifted its holdings in shares of First Merchants by 25.7% in the second quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 1,037,652 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $36,962,000 after purchasing an additional 212,253 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 72.37% of the company’s stock.

First Merchants Company Profile

(Get Rating)

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 public finance. The company also offers personal and corporate trust; brokerage and private wealth management; and letters of credit, repurchase agreements, and other corporate services.

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