Zacks: Brokerages Expect First Merchants Co. (FRME) to Post $0.75 Earnings Per Share

Wall Street analysts expect First Merchants Co. (NASDAQ:FRME) to report earnings per share (EPS) of $0.75 for the current fiscal quarter, Zacks reports. Three analysts have provided estimates for First Merchants’ earnings, with the lowest EPS estimate coming in at $0.74 and the highest estimate coming in at $0.76. First Merchants posted earnings per share of $0.57 in the same quarter last year, which would indicate a positive year over year growth rate of 31.6%. The company is scheduled to report its next quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 26th.

According to Zacks, analysts expect that First Merchants will report full year earnings of $3.07 per share for the current year, with EPS estimates ranging from $3.03 to $3.11. For the next fiscal year, analysts anticipate that the firm will report earnings of $3.32 per share, with EPS estimates ranging from $3.30 to $3.36. Zacks Investment Research’s EPS averages are a mean average based on a survey of sell-side research analysts that follow First Merchants.

First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, April 26th. The bank reported $0.74 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.70 by $0.04. First Merchants had a net margin of 26.33% and a return on equity of 9.82%. The firm had revenue of $99.48 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $98.35 million.

A number of brokerages have weighed in on FRME. BidaskClub raised shares of First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, May 24th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $51.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Friday, May 18th. One analyst has rated the stock with a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $50.33.

First Merchants traded down $0.23, reaching $47.61, during trading on Friday, according to Marketbeat. The company had a trading volume of 98,787 shares, compared to its average volume of 138,772. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.45, a quick ratio of 0.93 and a current ratio of 0.93. First Merchants has a 12 month low of $37.09 and a 12 month high of $49.19. The firm has a market cap of $2.33 billion, a P/E ratio of 19.93, a PEG ratio of 2.19 and a beta of 0.91.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, June 15th. Investors of record on Friday, June 1st will be issued a dividend of $0.22 per share. This represents a $0.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.85%. This is an increase from First Merchants’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.18. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, May 31st. First Merchants’s payout ratio is presently 36.51%.

In other news, insider Mark K. Hardwick sold 4,500 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, May 4th. The shares were sold at an average price of $43.91, for a total value of $197,595.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, insider Michele Kawiecki sold 600 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, May 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $44.42, for a total transaction of $26,652.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders acquired 61 shares of company stock worth $2,657. Corporate insiders own 1.41% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in FRME. Bedel Financial Consulting Inc. acquired a new stake in First Merchants during the 1st quarter valued at approximately $144,000. SG Americas Securities LLC bought a new position in shares of First Merchants during the 1st quarter worth approximately $172,000. Hamilton Capital Management Inc. bought a new position in shares of First Merchants during the 4th quarter worth approximately $215,000. Ullmann Financial Group Inc. bought a new position in shares of First Merchants during the 4th quarter worth approximately $235,000. Finally, Xact Kapitalforvaltning AB bought a new position in shares of First Merchants during the 4th quarter worth approximately $257,000. 68.71% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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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Earnings History and Estimates for First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME)

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