Verizon Communications Target of Unusually Large Options Trading (VZ)

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) was the recipient of some unusual options trading on Monday. Investors acquired 27,514 call options on the stock. This is an increase of 160% compared to the typical volume of 10,571 call options.

Several brokerages recently weighed in on VZ. Cowen and Company reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $52.00 price objective on shares of Verizon Communications in a report on Tuesday. TheStreet raised Verizon Communications from a “c+” rating to a “b-” rating in a report on Tuesday, August 8th. BidaskClub raised Verizon Communications from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Monday, July 31st. Royal Bank Of Canada upped their target price on Verizon Communications from $48.00 to $50.00 and gave the company a “sector perform” rating in a report on Monday, July 31st. Finally, Barclays PLC lowered their target price on Verizon Communications from $49.00 to $47.00 and set an “equal weight” rating for the company in a report on Friday, July 14th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, twenty-one have assigned a hold rating, five have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $53.00.

In related news, EVP Craig L. Silliman sold 610 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, July 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $47.74, for a total value of $29,121.40. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 7,819 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $373,279.06. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Over the last three months, insiders sold 1,830 shares of company stock valued at $86,248. 0.13% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in VZ. Capital Research Global Investors boosted its stake in Verizon Communications by 15.1% in the second quarter. Capital Research Global Investors now owns 153,408,016 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $6,851,202,000 after acquiring an additional 20,070,391 shares during the last quarter. FMR LLC boosted its stake in Verizon Communications by 15.0% in the second quarter. FMR LLC now owns 61,833,096 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $2,761,466,000 after acquiring an additional 8,077,275 shares during the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its stake in Verizon Communications by 2.1% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 282,894,542 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $12,634,070,000 after acquiring an additional 5,837,702 shares during the last quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. boosted its stake in Verizon Communications by 19.9% in the second quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. now owns 21,820,729 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $974,515,000 after acquiring an additional 3,623,182 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Principal Financial Group Inc. boosted its stake in Verizon Communications by 52.6% in the second quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 9,014,846 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $402,604,000 after acquiring an additional 3,107,054 shares during the last quarter. 62.23% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Shares of Verizon Communications (NYSE VZ) opened at 49.48 on Thursday. Verizon Communications has a 52-week low of $42.80 and a 52-week high of $54.83. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $48.00 and a 200-day moving average price of $47.06. The firm has a market capitalization of $201.85 billion, a P/E ratio of 12.72 and a beta of 0.57.

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 27th. The cell phone carrier reported $0.96 earnings per share for the quarter, meeting analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.96. The business had revenue of $30.55 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $29.84 billion. Verizon Communications had a net margin of 12.88% and a return on equity of 63.06%. Verizon Communications’s revenue for the quarter was up .1% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $0.94 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that Verizon Communications will post $3.78 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, November 1st. Investors of record on Tuesday, October 10th will be issued a $0.59 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Friday, October 6th. This represents a $2.36 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 4.77%. This is a positive change from Verizon Communications’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.58. Verizon Communications’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 59.23%.

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About Verizon Communications

Verizon Communications Inc is a holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, provides communications, information and entertainment products and services to consumers, businesses and governmental agencies. Its segments include Wireless and Wireline. The Wireless segment offers communications products and services, including wireless voice and data services and equipment sales, to consumer, business and government customers across the United States.

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