First Trust Advisors LP boosted its stake in shares of Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) by 4.7% during the third quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the SEC. The fund owned 4,867,657 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock after buying an additional 218,200 shares during the period. Verizon Communications accounts for approximately 0.8% of First Trust Advisors LP’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 9th largest position. First Trust Advisors LP’s holdings in Verizon Communications were worth $253,021,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Several other institutional investors have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Oliver Luxxe Assets LLC increased its stake in shares of Verizon Communications by 0.3% in the second quarter. Oliver Luxxe Assets LLC now owns 3,821 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $213,000 after buying an additional 12 shares in the last quarter. Dillon & Associates Inc. increased its stake in shares of Verizon Communications by 0.3% in the third quarter. Dillon & Associates Inc. now owns 4,319 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $225,000 after buying an additional 14 shares in the last quarter. Ronna Sue Cohen increased its stake in shares of Verizon Communications by 0.3% in the third quarter. Ronna Sue Cohen now owns 4,779 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $248,000 after buying an additional 15 shares in the last quarter. Lowe fs LLC increased its stake in shares of Verizon Communications by 0.8% in the second quarter. Lowe fs LLC now owns 2,356 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $132,000 after buying an additional 19 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Alpha Windward LLC increased its stake in shares of Verizon Communications by 0.4% in the third quarter. Alpha Windward LLC now owns 4,974 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $259,000 after buying an additional 21 shares in the last quarter. 62.29% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) opened at 52.55 on Friday. Verizon Communications Inc. has a 1-year low of $43.79 and a 1-year high of $56.95. The firm has a market capitalization of $214.23 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 15.32 and a beta of 0.40. The company has a 50 day moving average price of $52.26 and a 200-day moving average price of $52.01.

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 20th. The cell phone carrier reported $1.01 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.99 by $0.02. The business had revenue of $30.90 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $31.08 billion. Verizon Communications had a return on equity of 78.75% and a net margin of 10.97%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was down 6.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $1.04 EPS. On average, analysts forecast that Verizon Communications Inc. will post $3.89 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, February 1st. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, January 10th will be issued a $0.5775 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, January 6th. This represents a $2.31 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 4.40%. This is a boost from Verizon Communications’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.01. Verizon Communications’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 67.15%.

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Several equities research analysts have issued reports on the company. BTIG Research reaffirmed a “neutral” rating on shares of Verizon Communications in a report on Thursday. Drexel Hamilton reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $54.00 price target on shares of Verizon Communications in a report on Thursday. Vetr raised Verizon Communications from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $52.16 price target for the company in a report on Monday, January 9th. Citigroup Inc. raised Verizon Communications from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and raised their price target for the company from $52.25 to $53.38 in a report on Tuesday, January 3rd. Finally, Jefferies Group reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $53.00 price target on shares of Verizon Communications in a report on Friday, December 16th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, twenty-two have assigned a hold rating and nine have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $54.19.

In other Verizon Communications news, EVP Craig L. Silliman sold 672 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, October 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $47.76, for a total value of $32,094.72. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 9,182 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $438,532.32. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Craig L. Silliman sold 668 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, November 22nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $49.29, for a total value of $32,925.72. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 6,047 shares in the company, valued at approximately $298,056.63. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.10% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Verizon Communications Company Profile

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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