Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) was the recipient of a significant growth in short interest in January. As of January 31st, there was short interest totalling 36,648,806 shares, a growth of 16.4% from the January 12th total of 31,492,809 shares. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 20,275,338 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 1.8 days. Approximately 0.9% of the shares of the stock are sold short.

In related news, EVP Craig L. Silliman sold 610 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, November 27th. The shares were sold at an average price of $47.41, for a total transaction of $28,920.10. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 3,269 shares in the company, valued at $154,983.29. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Company insiders own 0.13% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in VZ. Whitnell & Co. raised its holdings in Verizon Communications by 1.2% in the 2nd quarter. Whitnell & Co. now owns 10,316 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock worth $461,000 after acquiring an additional 125 shares during the period. Caxton Associates LP bought a new position in Verizon Communications in the 2nd quarter worth $607,000. DekaBank Deutsche Girozentrale raised its holdings in Verizon Communications by 4.6% in the 2nd quarter. DekaBank Deutsche Girozentrale now owns 1,673,761 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock worth $74,961,000 after acquiring an additional 72,980 shares during the period. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board raised its holdings in Verizon Communications by 1.3% in the 2nd quarter. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board now owns 10,704,239 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock worth $478,051,000 after acquiring an additional 136,700 shares during the period. Finally, Alps Advisors Inc. raised its holdings in Verizon Communications by 5.2% in the 2nd quarter. Alps Advisors Inc. now owns 1,018,021 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock worth $45,465,000 after acquiring an additional 50,602 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 63.31% of the company’s stock.

A number of research firms recently commented on VZ. Bank of America raised their price objective on shares of Verizon Communications from $55.00 to $58.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, January 24th. HSBC lowered shares of Verizon Communications from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and decreased their price objective 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. Vetr raised shares of Verizon Communications from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $54.80 price objective for the company in a research note on Monday, February 5th. Howard Weil raised shares of Verizon Communications from a “sector perform” rating to a “sector outperform” rating in a research note on Monday, January 22nd. Finally, Nomura raised their price objective on shares of Verizon Communications from $61.00 to $63.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, January 24th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, fifteen have given a hold rating and ten have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $53.51.

Shares of Verizon Communications (VZ) opened at $49.51 on Thursday. Verizon Communications has a 12-month low of $42.80 and a 12-month high of $54.77. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.54, a current ratio of 0.91 and a quick ratio of 0.87. The stock has a market cap of $201,970.00, a P/E ratio of 15.19, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.04 and a beta of 0.58.

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, January 23rd. The cell phone carrier reported $0.86 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.88 by ($0.02). The company had revenue of $33.96 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $33.20 billion. Verizon Communications had a return on equity of 48.97% and a net margin of 23.88%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 2.2% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $0.86 EPS. equities analysts expect that Verizon Communications will post 4.54 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, February 1st. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, January 10th were issued a dividend of $0.59 per share. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, January 9th. This represents a $2.36 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 4.77%. Verizon Communications’s dividend payout ratio is currently 72.39%.

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About Verizon Communications

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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