Astrazeneca PLC Sees Unusually High Options Volume (AZN)

Astrazeneca PLC (NYSE:AZN) was the target of some unusual options trading on Wednesday. Traders bought 8,259 put options on the company. This is an increase of approximately 1,510% compared to the typical volume of 513 put options.

Astrazeneca PLC (NYSE AZN) opened at 32.25 on Monday. The company has a 50 day moving average price of $30.20 and a 200-day moving average price of $31.61. Astrazeneca PLC has a one year low of $25.55 and a one year high of $35.60. The company has a market capitalization of $81.66 billion, a PE ratio of 21.15 and a beta of 0.74.

Astrazeneca PLC (NYSE:AZN) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 27th. The company reported $0.87 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.41 by $0.46. Astrazeneca PLC had a return on equity of 35.90% and a net margin of 17.80%. The company had revenue of $5.05 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.04 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $0.83 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was down 9.9% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts expect that Astrazeneca PLC will post $1.85 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a None dividend, which will be paid on Monday, September 11th. Investors of record on Friday, August 11th will be given a dividend of $0.44 per share. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, August 9th. This represents a dividend yield of 2.98%. Astrazeneca PLC’s dividend payout ratio is presently 44.92%.

Several research analysts have commented on AZN shares. Zacks Investment Research downgraded Astrazeneca PLC from a “strong-buy” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Monday, July 17th. Natixis raised Astrazeneca PLC from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, September 6th. BidaskClub downgraded Astrazeneca PLC from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, July 11th. Piper Jaffray Companies reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Astrazeneca PLC in a research note on Wednesday, August 9th. Finally, Cowen and Company reissued a “hold” rating and set a $34.00 target price on shares of Astrazeneca PLC in a research note on Friday, July 28th. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have issued a hold rating and thirteen have assigned a buy rating to the company. Astrazeneca PLC has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $33.60.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Intl Fcstone Inc. boosted its position in shares of Astrazeneca PLC by 146.9% during the second quarter. Intl Fcstone Inc. now owns 32,549 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,110,000 after purchasing an additional 19,365 shares in the last quarter. WFG Advisors LP boosted its position in shares of Astrazeneca PLC by 36.0% during the second quarter. WFG Advisors LP now owns 3,716 shares of the company’s stock valued at $127,000 after purchasing an additional 984 shares in the last quarter. Rikoon Group LLC boosted its position in shares of Astrazeneca PLC by 1.3% during the second quarter. Rikoon Group LLC now owns 35,780 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,219,000 after purchasing an additional 450 shares in the last quarter. BB&T Investment Services Inc. bought a new stake in shares of Astrazeneca PLC during the second quarter valued at approximately $512,000. Finally, Raymond James Financial Services Advisors Inc. boosted its position in shares of Astrazeneca PLC by 18.6% during the second quarter. Raymond James Financial Services Advisors Inc. now owns 96,442 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,288,000 after purchasing an additional 15,098 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 14.18% of the company’s stock.

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About Astrazeneca PLC

AstraZeneca PLC (AstraZeneca) is a biopharmaceutical company. The Company focuses on discovery and development of products, which are then manufactured, marketed and sold. The Company focuses on three main therapy areas: Oncology, Cardiovascular & Metabolic Disease (CVMD) and Respiratory, while selectively pursuing therapies in Autoimmunity, Infection and Neuroscience.

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