Horizon Investments LLC lifted its position in Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ – Get Rating) by 66.2% in the 1st quarter, according to the company in its most recent filing with the SEC. The institutional investor owned 68,588 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock after acquiring an additional 27,324 shares during the quarter. Horizon Investments LLC’s holdings in Verizon Communications were worth $3,452,000 as of its most recent filing with the SEC.
Several other hedge funds have also made changes to their positions in VZ. Norges Bank purchased a new stake in shares of Verizon Communications in the 4th quarter valued at approximately $1,884,917,000. BlackRock Inc. lifted its position in Verizon Communications by 4.8% in the 1st quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 304,700,845 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock worth $15,521,461,000 after buying an additional 13,959,954 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. lifted its position in Verizon Communications by 2.7% in the 1st quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 330,221,086 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock worth $16,821,462,000 after buying an additional 8,570,818 shares in the last quarter. Fisher Asset Management LLC lifted its position in Verizon Communications by 71.7% in the 1st quarter. Fisher Asset Management LLC now owns 16,787,501 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock worth $855,155,000 after buying an additional 7,008,579 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Renaissance Technologies LLC lifted its position in Verizon Communications by 81.3% in the 1st quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 10,604,493 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock worth $540,193,000 after buying an additional 4,756,222 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 62.83% of the company’s stock.
Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades
A number of equities research analysts have issued reports on VZ shares. Morgan Stanley cut their target price on shares of Verizon Communications from $60.00 to $58.00 and set an “equal weight” rating for the company in a research report on Monday, July 25th. Raymond James reiterated an “outperform” rating and issued a $64.00 target price on shares of Verizon Communications in a research report on Thursday, July 7th. Bank of America downgraded shares of Verizon Communications from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and cut their target price for the stock from $64.00 to $51.00 in a research report on Thursday, July 28th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $57.00 target price on shares of Verizon Communications in a research report on Friday, June 24th. Finally, Cowen dropped their price target on shares of Verizon Communications from $71.00 to $64.00 and set an “outperform” rating on the stock in a research note on Monday, July 25th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, sixteen have issued a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the company. According to data from MarketBeat, the stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $55.68.
Verizon Communications Trading Up 2.2 %
Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ – Get Rating) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Friday, July 22nd. The cell phone carrier reported $1.31 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $1.32 by ($0.01). The firm had revenue of $33.79 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $33.77 billion. Verizon Communications had a net margin of 15.48% and a return on equity of 26.95%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up .1% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $1.37 earnings per share. Research analysts forecast that Verizon Communications Inc. will post 5.2 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
Verizon Communications Increases Dividend
The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, November 1st. Shareholders of record on Friday, October 7th will be given a $0.6525 dividend. This represents a $2.61 annualized dividend and a yield of 6.18%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, October 6th. This is a boost from Verizon Communications’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.64. Verizon Communications’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 51.30%.
Insider Transactions at Verizon Communications
In other news, EVP Craig L. Silliman sold 1,558 shares of Verizon Communications stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, July 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $51.42, for a total transaction of $80,112.36. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 33,403 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,717,582.26. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. 0.10% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.
About Verizon Communications
Verizon Communications Inc, through its subsidiaries, offers communications, technology, information, and entertainment products and services to consumers, businesses, and governmental entities worldwide. Its Consumer segment provides postpaid and prepaid service plans; internet access on notebook computers and tablets; wireless equipment, including smartphones and other handsets; and wireless-enabled internet devices, such as tablets, and other wireless-enabled connected devices comprising smart watches.
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