Verizon Communications Sees Unusually High Options Volume (NYSE:VZ)

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) saw some unusual options trading activity on Thursday. Stock traders acquired 97,791 put options on the company. This represents an increase of 869% compared to the typical volume of 10,093 put options.

NYSE:VZ traded up $0.10 during trading hours on Friday, reaching $59.93. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 11,089,166 shares, compared to its average volume of 10,969,552. The firm has a market capitalization of $244.92 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 12.72, a PEG ratio of 2.95 and a beta of 0.53. Verizon Communications has a 1 year low of $52.28 and a 1 year high of $61.58. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.12, a quick ratio of 0.84 and a current ratio of 0.87. The firm has a 50-day simple moving average of $59.14 and a 200-day simple moving average of $57.83.

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, August 1st. The cell phone carrier reported $1.23 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.20 by $0.03. The business had revenue of $32.07 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $32.42 billion. Verizon Communications had a net margin of 12.08% and a return on equity of 34.91%. The company’s revenue was down .4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $1.20 EPS. Equities analysts anticipate that Verizon Communications will post 4.81 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, November 1st. Stockholders of record on Thursday, October 10th will be paid a dividend of $0.615 per share. This is a positive change from Verizon Communications’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.60. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, October 9th. This represents a $2.46 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 4.10%. Verizon Communications’s payout ratio is presently 52.23%.

In other Verizon Communications news, EVP Craig L. Silliman sold 1,349 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, August 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $56.01, for a total transaction of $75,557.49. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 22,681 shares in the company, valued at $1,270,362.81. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, CEO Tami A. Erwin sold 17,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $57.75, for a total transaction of $981,750.00. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 853 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $49,260.75. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders sold 21,047 shares of company stock valued at $1,214,722. 0.03% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Mawer Investment Management Ltd. raised its holdings in Verizon Communications by 19.2% in the second quarter. Mawer Investment Management Ltd. now owns 4,281,706 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock worth $244,614,000 after buying an additional 688,375 shares during the last quarter. Richard C. Young & CO. LTD. raised its holdings in Verizon Communications by 6.0% in the second quarter. Richard C. Young & CO. LTD. now owns 252,220 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock worth $14,409,000 after buying an additional 14,296 shares during the last quarter. HighTower Advisors LLC raised its holdings in Verizon Communications by 6.3% in the second quarter. HighTower Advisors LLC now owns 2,057,475 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock worth $117,566,000 after buying an additional 122,790 shares during the last quarter. Foundry Partners LLC raised its holdings in Verizon Communications by 10.1% in the second quarter. Foundry Partners LLC now owns 481,450 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock worth $27,505,000 after buying an additional 44,265 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Eqis Capital Management Inc. raised its holdings in Verizon Communications by 6.7% in the second quarter. Eqis Capital Management Inc. now owns 35,258 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock worth $2,014,000 after buying an additional 2,213 shares during the last quarter. 65.42% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

A number of analysts have weighed in on the stock. SunTrust Banks boosted their target price on shares of Verizon Communications from $61.00 to $68.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday. Citigroup set a $62.00 price objective on shares of Verizon Communications and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, September 10th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Verizon Communications from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $62.00 price target on the stock in a research report on Monday, September 2nd. ValuEngine cut shares of Verizon Communications from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Friday, October 4th. Finally, Oppenheimer raised shares of Verizon Communications from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating and set a $70.00 price target on the stock in a research report on Tuesday, August 27th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $61.81.

Verizon Communications Company Profile

Verizon Communications Inc, through its subsidiaries, offers communications, information, and entertainment products and services to consumers, businesses, and governmental agencies worldwide. The company's Wireless segment provides wireless voice and data services; Internet access on various notebook computers and tablets; international travel wireless services; and network access services to deliver various Internet of Things products and services, as well as offers digital advertising and digital media services platforms.

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