Traders Buy Large Volume of Call Options on Ameren (NYSE:AEE)

Ameren Co. (NYSE:AEEGet Rating) was the recipient of some unusual options trading activity on Wednesday. Investors acquired 2,984 call options on the stock. This is an increase of approximately 2,268% compared to the typical daily volume of 126 call options.

In other Ameren news, SVP Mark C. Lindgren sold 999 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, March 31st. The shares were sold at an average price of $94.44, for a total value of $94,345.56. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 42,126 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,978,379.44. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, insider Shawn E. Schukar sold 1,562 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, February 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $85.96, for a total transaction of $134,269.52. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders have sold 75,299 shares of company stock worth $6,557,116. Corporate insiders own 0.52% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. BlackRock Inc. increased its stake in shares of Ameren by 3.9% during the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 20,753,782 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $1,847,293,000 after buying an additional 786,490 shares during the period. State Street Corp increased its stake in Ameren by 0.6% in the fourth quarter. State Street Corp now owns 12,860,807 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $1,144,740,000 after purchasing an additional 76,051 shares during the last quarter. Deutsche Bank AG increased its stake in Ameren by 13.6% in the fourth quarter. Deutsche Bank AG now owns 5,546,548 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $493,699,000 after purchasing an additional 662,273 shares during the last quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC increased its stake in Ameren by 1.5% in the fourth quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 4,855,901 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $431,135,000 after purchasing an additional 72,178 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Lazard Asset Management LLC increased its stake in Ameren by 2.0% in the fourth quarter. Lazard Asset Management LLC now owns 3,682,048 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $327,738,000 after purchasing an additional 72,865 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 75.47% of the company’s stock.

AEE has been the topic of a number of recent research reports. Morgan Stanley boosted their price target on shares of Ameren from $92.00 to $101.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Wednesday. Wells Fargo & Company boosted their price target on shares of Ameren from $95.00 to $100.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research note on Friday, March 25th. Finally, StockNews.com initiated coverage on shares of Ameren in a research note on Thursday, March 31st. They set a “hold” rating on the stock. Five investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. According to MarketBeat.com, Ameren currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $92.83.

AEE stock opened at $98.51 on Thursday. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $90.00 and its 200 day moving average price is $87.29. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.28, a quick ratio of 0.49 and a current ratio of 0.70. Ameren has a fifty-two week low of $79.35 and a fifty-two week high of $98.63. The firm has a market capitalization of $25.39 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 25.65, a PEG ratio of 3.30 and a beta of 0.36.

Ameren (NYSE:AEEGet Rating) last released its earnings results on Thursday, February 17th. The utilities provider reported $0.48 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.50 by ($0.02). Ameren had a return on equity of 10.31% and a net margin of 15.48%. The firm had revenue of $1.55 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.39 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $0.46 earnings per share. Equities analysts forecast that Ameren will post 4.05 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, March 31st. Investors of record on Wednesday, March 9th were paid a dividend of $0.59 per share. This represents a $2.36 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.40%. This is a positive change from Ameren’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.55. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, March 8th. Ameren’s dividend payout ratio is presently 61.46%.

About Ameren (Get Rating)

Ameren Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a public utility holding company in the United States. It operates through four segments: Ameren Missouri, Ameren Illinois Electric Distribution, Ameren Illinois Natural Gas, and Ameren Transmission. The company engages in the rate-regulated electric generation, transmission, and distribution activities; and rate-regulated natural gas distribution and transmission businesses.

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