First Heartland Consultants Inc. decreased its stake in shares of Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) by 12.7% during the third quarter, according to its most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm owned 49,552 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock after selling 7,217 shares during the period. Verizon Communications accounts for about 0.7% of First Heartland Consultants Inc.’s portfolio, making the stock its 28th largest position. First Heartland Consultants Inc.’s holdings in Verizon Communications were worth $2,576,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Several other hedge funds have also recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Guidant Wealth Advisors purchased a new stake in shares of Verizon Communications during the third quarter valued at approximately $107,000. Solaris Asset Management LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Verizon Communications during the third quarter valued at approximately $125,000. Lowe fs LLC increased its stake in shares of Verizon Communications by 3.0% in the third quarter. Lowe fs LLC now owns 2,426 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $126,000 after buying an additional 70 shares during the last quarter. Ruggie Capital Group increased its stake in shares of Verizon Communications by 0.3% in the third quarter. Ruggie Capital Group now owns 2,649 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $137,000 after buying an additional 9 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Daiwa SB Investments Ltd. increased its stake in shares of Verizon Communications by 11,938.5% in the third quarter. Daiwa SB Investments Ltd. now owns 3,130 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $163,000 after buying an additional 3,104 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 63.38% of the company’s stock.

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ)

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) opened at 48.46 on Friday. Verizon Communications Inc. has a 1-year low of $46.01 and a 1-year high of $56.95. The stock has a market capitalization of $197.57 billion, a PE ratio of 15.10 and a beta of 0.43. The company’s 50 day moving average is $50.81 and its 200-day moving average is $51.00.

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, January 24th. The cell phone carrier reported $0.86 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.89 by $0.03. The company had revenue of $32.30 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $32.12 billion. Verizon Communications had a return on equity of 72.75% and a net margin of 10.42%. The business’s revenue was down 5.6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $0.89 earnings per share. Analysts forecast that Verizon Communications Inc. will post $3.86 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, February 1st. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, January 10th were given a dividend of $0.5775 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, January 6th. This is a boost from Verizon Communications’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.01. This represents a $2.31 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 4.77%. Verizon Communications’s dividend payout ratio is currently 71.74%.

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Several analysts have recently commented on VZ shares. Drexel Hamilton upgraded shares of Verizon Communications from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $54.00 price objective on the stock in a research report on Monday, October 24th. Citigroup Inc. upgraded shares of Verizon Communications from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and raised their price objective for the company from $52.25 to $53.38 in a research report on Tuesday, January 3rd. HSBC Holdings plc upgraded shares of Verizon Communications from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $61.00 price objective on the stock in a research report on Thursday, January 19th. Vetr upgraded shares of Verizon Communications from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $52.98 price objective on the stock in a research report on Tuesday, January 24th. Finally, Pacific Crest restated an “equal weight” rating on shares of Verizon Communications in a research report on Sunday, October 23rd. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, twenty-six have assigned a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $54.49.

In other news, SVP Anthony T. Skiadas sold 12,495 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, February 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $48.27, for a total value of $603,133.65. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 16,058 shares in the company, valued at $775,119.66. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, EVP Craig L. Silliman sold 668 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, November 22nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $49.29, for a total transaction of $32,925.72. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 6,047 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $298,056.63. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 0.10% of the company’s stock.

About Verizon Communications

Verizon Communications Inc (Verizon) is a holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, provides communications, information and entertainment products and services to consumers, businesses and governmental agencies. The Company offers voice, data and video services and solutions on its wireless and wireline networks.

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