Ball Co. (NYSE:BLL) saw a significant drop in short interest during the month of October. As of October 31st, there was short interest totalling 5,730,000 shares, a drop of 10.2% from the September 30th total of 6,380,000 shares. Approximately 1.8% of the shares of the company are short sold. Based on an average daily volume of 2,290,000 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 2.5 days.

Several equities analysts have commented on BLL shares. KeyCorp reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Ball in a report on Friday, August 2nd. Wells Fargo & Co reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Ball in a report on Friday, November 1st. Morgan Stanley reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $87.00 price target on shares of Ball in a report on Wednesday, November 6th. ValuEngine downgraded Ball from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a report on Wednesday, October 2nd. Finally, Vertical Research upgraded Ball from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, November 1st. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have issued a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $76.02.

Shares of Ball stock traded down $0.14 during midday trading on Friday, hitting $65.60. The company had a trading volume of 972,355 shares, compared to its average volume of 2,351,148. The business’s 50 day simple moving average is $70.69 and its two-hundred day simple moving average is $70.24. The stock has a market cap of $21.51 billion, a PE ratio of 29.82, a P/E/G ratio of 4.73 and a beta of 0.72. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.91, a current ratio of 1.01 and a quick ratio of 0.70. Ball has a 1-year low of $42.24 and a 1-year high of $81.88.

Ball (NYSE:BLL) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 31st. The industrial products company reported $0.70 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.72 by ($0.02). The company had revenue of $2.95 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.05 billion. Ball had a return on equity of 22.86% and a net margin of 4.82%. The company’s revenue was up .2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business posted $0.56 EPS. On average, sell-side analysts expect that Ball will post 2.53 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, December 16th. Stockholders of record on Monday, December 2nd will be paid a $0.15 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Friday, November 29th. This represents a $0.60 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.91%. Ball’s payout ratio is 27.27%.

In other Ball news, VP Charles E. Baker sold 19,563 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, August 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $80.06, for a total transaction of $1,566,213.78. Following the transaction, the vice president now owns 215,223 shares in the company, valued at $17,230,753.38. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Chairman John A. Hayes sold 9,465 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $66.48, for a total value of $629,233.20. Following the transaction, the chairman now owns 438,296 shares in the company, valued at approximately $29,137,918.08. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders have sold 76,216 shares of company stock worth $5,785,286. Corporate insiders own 1.80% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in BLL. Morgan Stanley grew its stake in shares of Ball by 448.7% in the second quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 4,160,497 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $291,191,000 after acquiring an additional 3,402,247 shares during the last quarter. Nuveen Asset Management LLC boosted its stake in Ball by 3,691.6% during the second quarter. Nuveen Asset Management LLC now owns 2,669,736 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $186,855,000 after buying an additional 2,599,325 shares in the last quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. boosted its stake in Ball by 82.5% during the second quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 2,404,522 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $168,293,000 after buying an additional 1,087,134 shares in the last quarter. Russell Investments Group Ltd. boosted its stake in Ball by 337.4% during the second quarter. Russell Investments Group Ltd. now owns 1,025,664 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $71,512,000 after buying an additional 791,190 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Invesco Ltd. boosted its stake in Ball by 32.5% during the second quarter. Invesco Ltd. now owns 3,069,194 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $214,814,000 after buying an additional 752,801 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 84.19% of the company’s stock.

Ball Company Profile

Ball Corp. provides metal packaging for beverages, foods and household products, and of aerospace and other technologies and services to commercial and governmental customers. It operates through the following business segments: Beverage Packaging, North and Central America; Beverage Packaging, South America; Beverage Packaging, Europe; Food and Aerosol Packaging; and Aerospace.

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