Patriot Financial Partners GP LP bought a new stake in shares of First Merchants Co. (NASDAQ:FRME) during the 3rd quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the SEC. The fund bought 566,581 shares of the bank’s stock, valued at approximately $21,324,000. First Merchants accounts for 7.5% of Patriot Financial Partners GP LP’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 5th biggest position.
A number of other large investors have also recently made changes to their positions in the business. First Trust Advisors LP increased its stake in shares of First Merchants by 5.7% in the first quarter. First Trust Advisors LP now owns 168,710 shares of the bank’s stock worth $6,217,000 after acquiring an additional 9,071 shares during the last quarter. Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. acquired a new position in shares of First Merchants in the first quarter worth $151,000. Denali Advisors LLC acquired a new position in shares of First Merchants in the second quarter worth $125,000. Windsor Group LTD acquired a new position in shares of First Merchants in the second quarter worth $648,000. Finally, Virginia Retirement Systems ET AL increased its stake in shares of First Merchants by 0.8% in the second quarter. Virginia Retirement Systems ET AL now owns 52,700 shares of the bank’s stock worth $1,997,000 after acquiring an additional 400 shares during the last quarter. 74.80% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.
In related news, SVP Stephan Fluhler sold 3,873 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, September 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $38.98, for a total value of $150,969.54. Also, Director Charles E. Schalliol sold 7,300 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, September 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $37.98, for a total transaction of $277,254.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.30% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.
First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last released its earnings results on Thursday, October 24th. The bank reported $0.88 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.80 by $0.08. First Merchants had a net margin of 29.88% and a return on equity of 10.88%. The business had revenue of $111.05 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $109.87 million. As a group, research analysts predict that First Merchants Co. will post 3.34 EPS for the current fiscal year.
A number of equities analysts have recently weighed in on the stock. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Tuesday, October 1st. BidaskClub raised shares of First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, October 31st. ValuEngine raised shares of First Merchants from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, September 11th. Finally, Raymond James upped their price target on shares of First Merchants from $39.00 to $43.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research note on Friday, October 25th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have assigned a hold rating and five have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $43.50.
First Merchants Company Profile
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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