Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) was the target of a large decrease in short interest during the month of December. As of December 29th, there was short interest totalling 33,222,973 shares, a decrease of 16.1% from the December 15th total of 39,588,331 shares. Currently, 0.8% of the company’s shares are short sold. Based on an average daily volume of 11,096,880 shares, the short-interest ratio is currently 3.0 days.

In other news, EVP Craig L. Silliman sold 610 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, October 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $48.62, for a total value of $29,658.20. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 5,989 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $291,185.18. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Corporate insiders own 0.13% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of VZ. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Verizon Communications by 2.1% in the 2nd 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. Capital Research Global Investors increased its holdings in shares of Verizon Communications by 15.1% in the 2nd 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 increased its holdings in shares of Verizon Communications by 15.0% in the 2nd 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. Legal & General Group Plc increased its holdings in shares of Verizon Communications by 2.7% in the 3rd quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 24,495,234 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $1,212,227,000 after acquiring an additional 636,014 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Franklin Resources Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Verizon Communications by 19.9% in the 2nd 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. Institutional investors own 63.22% of the company’s stock.

Shares of Verizon Communications (NYSE VZ) opened at $51.91 on Friday. The company has a current ratio of 1.07, a quick ratio of 1.02 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 4.05. Verizon Communications has a 1-year low of $42.80 and a 1-year high of $53.69. The firm has a market capitalization of $211,760.00, a PE ratio of 13.31, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 4.63 and a beta of 0.57.

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 19th. The cell phone carrier reported $0.98 earnings per share for the quarter, hitting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.98. Verizon Communications had a return on equity of 58.66% and a net margin of 12.80%. The company had revenue of $31.70 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $31.45 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $1.01 EPS. Verizon Communications’s revenue was up 2.5% on a year-over-year basis. equities analysts expect that Verizon Communications will post 3.77 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, February 1st. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, January 10th will be issued a dividend of $0.59 per share. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, January 9th. This represents a $2.36 annualized dividend and a yield of 4.55%. Verizon Communications’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 60.51%.

Several equities analysts have recently commented on VZ shares. Nomura raised Verizon Communications from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and upped their price target for the company from $47.00 to $61.00 in a research note on Tuesday, December 12th. KeyCorp reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Verizon Communications in a research note on Saturday, October 21st. Macquarie reissued a “hold” rating and set a $52.00 target price on shares of Verizon Communications in a research note on Sunday, October 22nd. ValuEngine raised Verizon Communications from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, December 1st. Finally, HSBC lowered Verizon Communications from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and decreased their target price for the stock from $54.83 to $42.80 in a research note on Thursday, December 14th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nineteen have assigned a hold rating, seven have assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $51.55.

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Verizon Communications Company Profile

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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