Dimensional Fund Advisors LP Decreases Stake in First Merchants Corporation (FRME)

Dimensional Fund Advisors LP lessened its position in First Merchants Corporation (NASDAQ:FRME) by 1.2% during the 3rd quarter, according to the company in its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The institutional investor owned 3,016,437 shares of the bank’s stock after selling 35,715 shares during the quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP owned about 6.14% of First Merchants worth $129,495,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Advisor Group Inc. lifted its position in First Merchants by 8.3% during the second quarter. Advisor Group Inc. now owns 2,981 shares of the bank’s stock worth $120,000 after buying an additional 228 shares in the last quarter. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. lifted its position in First Merchants by 1.7% during the second quarter. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. now owns 3,029 shares of the bank’s stock worth $122,000 after buying an additional 50 shares in the last quarter. Quantbot Technologies LP lifted its position in First Merchants by 2,048.6% during the second quarter. Quantbot Technologies LP now owns 3,975 shares of the bank’s stock worth $159,000 after buying an additional 3,790 shares in the last quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. purchased a new position in First Merchants during the third quarter worth approximately $172,000. Finally, Victory Capital Management Inc. lifted its position in First Merchants by 17.6% during the second quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 5,155 shares of the bank’s stock worth $207,000 after buying an additional 771 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 69.61% of the company’s stock.

First Merchants Corporation (FRME) opened at $42.92 on Friday. First Merchants Corporation has a 1 year low of $35.26 and a 1 year high of $45.42. The company has a market capitalization of $2,109.22, a P/E ratio of 18.74, a P/E/G ratio of 2.67 and a beta of 0.90. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.43, a quick ratio of 0.93 and a current ratio of 0.93.

First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 26th. The bank reported $0.50 EPS for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.55 by ($0.05). First Merchants had a return on equity of 9.56% and a net margin of 26.28%. The company had revenue of $93.09 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $97.45 million. analysts forecast that First Merchants Corporation will post 2.29 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, December 15th. Shareholders of record on Friday, December 1st were paid a dividend of $0.18 per share. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, November 30th. This represents a $0.72 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.68%. First Merchants’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 33.03%.

A number of equities analysts recently commented on FRME shares. Zacks Investment Research downgraded First Merchants from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, August 22nd. Piper Jaffray Companies reiterated a “neutral” rating and set a $46.00 price objective on shares of First Merchants in a research report on Friday, October 6th. Finally, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $47.00 price objective on shares of First Merchants in a research report on Sunday, October 29th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have assigned a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $47.33.

In other First Merchants news, Director Michael C. Marhenke bought 2,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, November 29th. The stock was bought at an average price of $43.68 per share, with a total value of $87,360.00. Following the completion of the purchase, the director now directly owns 33,543 shares in the company, valued at $1,465,158.24. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, insider Mark K. Hardwick sold 4,301 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, November 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $42.61, for a total value of $183,265.61. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders have acquired 2,036 shares of company stock valued at $88,908. 1.41% of the stock is owned by insiders.

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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).

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME)

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