Northrop Grumman Co. (NYSE:NOC) saw a significant increase in short interest in the month of January. As of January 31st, there was short interest totalling 2,180,000 shares, an increase of 7.9% from the January 15th total of 2,020,000 shares. Based on an average daily volume of 987,300 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 2.2 days. Currently, 1.3% of the shares of the company are short sold.

A number of equities analysts have commented on NOC shares. Barclays restated a “buy” rating and set a $455.00 price objective on shares of Northrop Grumman in a research note on Thursday, January 23rd. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Northrop Grumman from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $367.00 price objective on the stock in a research note on Monday, December 30th. Morgan Stanley raised their price objective on Northrop Grumman from $437.00 to $449.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research note on Thursday, December 12th. Goldman Sachs Group lowered Northrop Grumman from a “buy” rating to a “sell” rating and lowered their price objective for the stock from $409.00 to $337.00 in a research note on Monday, February 3rd. Finally, ValuEngine lowered Northrop Grumman from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research note on Tuesday, February 4th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, two have issued a hold rating and eight have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $387.20.

Northrop Grumman stock traded up $2.94 during mid-day trading on Friday, reaching $370.94. 635,087 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 1,003,367. The company has a fifty day simple moving average of $369.94 and a 200-day simple moving average of $360.65. Northrop Grumman has a 12 month low of $263.29 and a 12 month high of $385.01. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.60, a current ratio of 1.13 and a quick ratio of 1.05. The firm has a market cap of $61.69 billion, a PE ratio of 28.14, a PEG ratio of 0.95 and a beta of 0.79.

Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, January 30th. The aerospace company reported $5.61 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $4.77 by $0.84. Northrop Grumman had a return on equity of 39.51% and a net margin of 6.64%. The firm had revenue of $8.72 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $8.84 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $4.93 EPS. The company’s revenue was up 6.9% on a year-over-year basis. Sell-side analysts anticipate that Northrop Grumman will post 23.07 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, March 11th. Stockholders of record on Monday, February 24th will be paid a $1.32 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Friday, February 21st. This represents a $5.28 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.42%. Northrop Grumman’s payout ratio is 24.89%.

In other news, VP Mary D. Petryszyn sold 3,921 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, February 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $362.27, for a total transaction of $1,420,460.67. Following the transaction, the vice president now owns 6,713 shares in the company, valued at $2,431,918.51. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, CFO Kenneth L. Bedingfield sold 4,611 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, February 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $367.33, for a total value of $1,693,758.63. Following the transaction, the chief financial officer now owns 35,394 shares in the company, valued at approximately $13,001,278.02. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.45% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA increased its stake in shares of Northrop Grumman by 0.5% in the 3rd quarter. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA now owns 5,307,071 shares of the aerospace company’s stock valued at $1,989,037,000 after purchasing an additional 28,254 shares during the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp increased its stake in shares of Northrop Grumman by 3.0% in the 4th quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 1,360,274 shares of the aerospace company’s stock valued at $467,894,000 after purchasing an additional 39,736 shares during the last quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. increased its stake in shares of Northrop Grumman by 1.5% in the 4th quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. now owns 1,302,218 shares of the aerospace company’s stock valued at $447,925,000 after purchasing an additional 18,994 shares during the last quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC increased its stake in shares of Northrop Grumman by 141.5% in the 4th quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC now owns 1,072,419 shares of the aerospace company’s stock valued at $368,879,000 after purchasing an additional 628,367 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Charles Schwab Investment Management Inc. increased its stake in shares of Northrop Grumman by 0.8% in the 4th quarter. Charles Schwab Investment Management Inc. now owns 770,176 shares of the aerospace company’s stock valued at $264,918,000 after purchasing an additional 5,844 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 83.20% of the company’s stock.

About Northrop Grumman

Northrop Grumman Corporation, a security company, provides products in the areas of autonomous systems, cyber, space, strikes, and logistics and modernizations in the United States, the Asia Pacific, and internationally. The company operates through four segments: Aerospace Systems, Innovation Systems, Mission Systems, and Technology Services.

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