U.S. Silica Target of Unusually High Options Trading (SLCA)

U.S. Silica Holdings Inc (NYSE:SLCA) saw some unusual options trading activity on Monday. Traders acquired 14,804 call options on the company. This is an increase of 661% compared to the typical volume of 1,946 call options.

In other news, Director Charles W. Shaver acquired 3,300 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, December 12th. The stock was bought at an average cost of $33.99 per share, with a total value of $112,167.00. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 29,829 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,013,887.71. The acquisition was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, EVP Bradford B. Casper sold 8,700 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, December 18th. The shares were sold at an average price of $34.21, for a total transaction of $297,627.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 18,593 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $636,066.53. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders acquired 7,900 shares of company stock valued at $256,063. 1.00% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. ARP Americas LP acquired a new stake in U.S. Silica during the fourth quarter worth about $322,000. HAP Trading LLC raised its stake in U.S. Silica by 40.5% during the fourth quarter. HAP Trading LLC now owns 21,575 shares of the mining company’s stock worth $702,000 after acquiring an additional 6,224 shares during the period. Royce & Associates LP raised its stake in U.S. Silica by 17.1% during the fourth quarter. Royce & Associates LP now owns 309,656 shares of the mining company’s stock worth $10,082,000 after acquiring an additional 45,300 shares during the period. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. raised its stake in U.S. Silica by 9.8% during the fourth quarter. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. now owns 52,820 shares of the mining company’s stock worth $1,720,000 after acquiring an additional 4,736 shares during the period. Finally, BlackRock Inc. raised its stake in U.S. Silica by 5.2% during the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 10,676,019 shares of the mining company’s stock worth $347,610,000 after acquiring an additional 530,193 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 99.79% of the company’s stock.

A number of equities analysts have weighed in on the stock. R. F. Lafferty assumed coverage on shares of U.S. Silica in a research report on Wednesday, January 17th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $52.00 price objective for the company. Seaport Global Securities assumed coverage on shares of U.S. Silica in a research report on Friday, December 8th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $59.00 price objective for the company. Citigroup upped their price objective on shares of U.S. Silica from $39.00 to $41.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, November 10th. Jefferies Group set a $43.00 price objective on shares of U.S. Silica and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Monday, November 13th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of U.S. Silica from a “hold” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $38.00 target price on the stock in a research note on Monday, December 4th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have assigned a hold rating and twenty have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $48.76.

Shares of U.S. Silica (NYSE SLCA) opened at $29.00 on Friday. The stock has a market cap of $2,360.00, a PE ratio of 36.25 and a beta of 2.15. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.39, a current ratio of 3.67 and a quick ratio of 3.26. U.S. Silica has a 12 month low of $24.26 and a 12 month high of $61.49.

U.S. Silica announced that its board has authorized a stock repurchase program on Monday, November 6th that allows the company to buyback $100.00 million in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization allows the mining company to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are typically an indication that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.

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U.S. Silica Company Profile

U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc is a domestic producer of commercial silica, a specialized mineral that is an input into a range of end markets. The Company operates in two segments: Oil & Gas Proppants, and Industrial & Specialty Products. In the Oil & Gas Proppants segment, it serves the oil and gas recovery market providing fracturing sand, or frac sand, which is pumped down oil and natural gas wells to prop open rock fissures and manage the flow rate of natural gas and oil from the wells.

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