Short Interest in First Merchants Co. (FRME) Declines By 32.6%

First Merchants Co. (NASDAQ:FRME) saw a significant decrease in short interest in October. As of October 15th, there was short interest totalling 573,075 shares, a decrease of 32.6% from the September 28th total of 850,266 shares. Approximately 1.2% of the company’s shares are short sold. Based on an average trading volume of 231,254 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 2.5 days.

In other news, Director Michael C. Marhenke sold 26,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, August 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $49.14, for a total value of $1,277,640.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 30,294 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,488,647.16. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, President Michael C. Rechin sold 15,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, August 20th. The stock was sold at an average price of $48.63, for a total transaction of $729,450.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders bought 81 shares of company stock valued at $3,860 in the last three months. Company insiders own 1.29% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in FRME. Mount Yale Investment Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in First Merchants during the 1st quarter valued at $117,000. Biegel & Waller LLC acquired a new stake in First Merchants during the 2nd quarter valued at $208,000. Independent Advisor Alliance acquired a new stake in First Merchants during the 2nd quarter valued at $213,000. First Allied Advisory Services Inc. acquired a new stake in First Merchants during the 2nd quarter valued at $213,000. Finally, Indiana Trust & Investment Management CO acquired a new stake in First Merchants during the 3rd quarter valued at $226,000. 70.33% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.



FRME has been the subject of several recent research reports. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of First Merchants from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, July 2nd. BidaskClub lowered shares of First Merchants from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 18th. Piper Jaffray Companies set a $47.00 price objective on shares of First Merchants and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday. Finally, ValuEngine lowered shares of First Merchants from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Tuesday, October 2nd. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating and one has given a buy rating to the company’s stock. First Merchants has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $49.33.

FRME opened at $42.43 on Tuesday. The firm has a market cap of $2.06 billion, a P/E ratio of 17.61, a PEG ratio of 1.87 and a beta of 0.84. First Merchants has a twelve month low of $37.60 and a twelve month high of $50.44. The company has a quick ratio of 0.93, a current ratio of 0.93 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.45.

First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, October 24th. The bank reported $0.83 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.80 by $0.03. The business had revenue of $106.01 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $104.90 million. First Merchants had a net margin of 30.43% and a return on equity of 11.24%. Equities analysts forecast that First Merchants will post 3.17 earnings per share for the current year.

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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