Do Hedge Funds and Insiders Love First Merchants Corporation (FRME)?

Is First Merchants Corporation (NASDAQ:FRME) the right investment to pursue these days? The best stock pickers are getting less bullish. The number of bullish hedge fund bets stayed the same which is a slightly negative development in our experience

At the moment, there are plenty of gauges investors can use to analyze stocks. Two of the most innovative are hedge fund and insider trading interest. At Insider Monkey, our research analyses have shown that, historically, those who follow the best picks of the top hedge fund managers can outclass the broader indices by a solid amount (see just how much).

Just as important, bullish insider trading activity is another way to break down the marketplace. Obviously, there are lots of incentives for a bullish insider to downsize shares of his or her company, but only one, very obvious reason why they would behave bullishly. Several empirical studies have demonstrated the useful potential of this tactic if you understand what to do (learn more here).

With these “truths” under our belt, it’s important to take a peek at the key action encompassing First Merchants Corporation (NASDAQ:FRME).

What does the smart money think about First Merchants Corporation (NASDAQ:FRME)?

At the end of the fourth quarter, a total of 11 of the hedge funds we track held long positions in this stock, a change of 0% from the previous quarter. With the smart money’s sentiment swirling, there exists a few noteworthy hedge fund managers who were upping their holdings substantially.

According to our comprehensive database, Ken Gray and Steve Walsh’s Bryn Mawr Capital had the biggest position in First Merchants Corporation (NASDAQ:FRME), worth close to $5.8 million, accounting for 0.5% of its total 13F portfolio. The second largest stake is held by Robert B. Gillam of McKinley Capital Management, with a $1.5 million position; the fund has 0.1% of its 13F portfolio invested in the stock. Other hedge funds that are bullish include Jim Simons’s Renaissance Technologies, Peter Rathjens, Bruce Clarke and John Campbell’s Arrowstreet Capital and D. E. Shaw’s D E Shaw.

How have insiders been trading First Merchants Corporation (NASDAQ:FRME)?

Insider purchases made by high-level executives is at its handiest when the company in focus has experienced transactions within the past half-year. Over the last six-month time frame, First Merchants Corporation (NASDAQ:FRME) has seen 3 unique insiders purchasing, and 8 insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

Let’s check out hedge fund and insider activity in other stocks similar to First Merchants Corporation (NASDAQ:FRME). These stocks are First Busey Corporation (NASDAQ:BUSE), Wilshire Bancorp Inc (NASDAQ:WIBC), First Financial Corp (NASDAQ:THFF), Taylor Capital Group Inc (NASDAQ:TAYC), and Lakeland Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:LKFN). This group of stocks are in the regional – midwest banks industry and their market caps are closest to FRME’s market cap.