Eagle Asset Management Inc. increased its stake in Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) by 1,639.1% during the 3rd quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the SEC. The fund owned 2,827,454 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock after acquiring an additional 2,664,871 shares during the period. Verizon Communications makes up 0.9% of Eagle Asset Management Inc.’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 9th largest position. Eagle Asset Management Inc. owned about 0.07% of Verizon Communications worth $170,665,000 as of its most recent filing with the SEC.

Several other institutional investors and hedge funds also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Mawer Investment Management Ltd. raised its stake in shares of Verizon Communications by 19.2% during the second quarter. Mawer Investment Management Ltd. now owns 4,281,706 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $244,614,000 after purchasing an additional 688,375 shares during the period. Richard C. Young & CO. LTD. raised its stake in shares of Verizon Communications by 6.0% during the second quarter. Richard C. Young & CO. LTD. now owns 252,220 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $14,409,000 after purchasing an additional 14,296 shares during the period. HighTower Advisors LLC raised its stake in shares of Verizon Communications by 6.3% during the second quarter. HighTower Advisors LLC now owns 2,057,475 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $117,566,000 after purchasing an additional 122,790 shares during the period. Foundry Partners LLC raised its stake in shares of Verizon Communications by 10.1% during the second quarter. Foundry Partners LLC now owns 481,450 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $27,505,000 after purchasing an additional 44,265 shares during the period. Finally, Raymond James Trust N.A. raised its stake in shares of Verizon Communications by 17.0% during the third quarter. Raymond James Trust N.A. now owns 403,298 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $24,343,000 after purchasing an additional 58,674 shares during the period. 65.55% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Shares of NYSE:VZ traded down $1.18 during midday trading on Friday, reaching $59.35. The company had a trading volume of 17,644,595 shares, compared to its average volume of 13,203,746. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.99, a current ratio of 0.89 and a quick ratio of 0.85. The stock’s fifty day moving average price is $60.20 and its 200-day moving average price is $58.02. The stock has a market capitalization of $246.08 billion, a P/E ratio of 12.60, a PEG ratio of 2.97 and a beta of 0.53. Verizon Communications Inc. has a one year low of $52.28 and a one year high of $61.58.

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Friday, October 25th. The cell phone carrier reported $1.25 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.24 by $0.01. The business had revenue of $32.89 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $32.74 billion. Verizon Communications had a net margin of 12.26% and a return on equity of 34.50%. The business’s revenue was up .9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $1.22 earnings per share. As a group, sell-side analysts forecast that Verizon Communications Inc. will post 4.83 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, November 1st. Investors of record on Thursday, October 10th were paid a $0.615 dividend. This represents a $2.46 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 4.14%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, October 9th. This is a positive change from Verizon Communications’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.60. Verizon Communications’s payout ratio is 52.23%.

In other Verizon Communications news, CEO Tami A. Erwin sold 17,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, August 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $57.75, for a total transaction of $981,750.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 853 shares in the company, valued at $49,260.75. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, EVP Craig L. Silliman sold 1,349 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Monday, August 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $56.01, for a total transaction of $75,557.49. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 22,681 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,270,362.81. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders sold 21,047 shares of company stock valued at $1,219,943. Insiders own 0.03% of the company’s stock.

A number of analysts have recently issued reports on VZ shares. Citigroup set a $62.00 price objective on shares of Verizon Communications and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, September 10th. Guggenheim lifted their price objective on shares of Verizon Communications from $65.00 to $69.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday, October 28th. Nomura lowered shares of Verizon Communications from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and dropped their price objective for the company from $67.00 to $65.00 in a research note on Monday. Moffett Nathanson set a $57.00 price objective on shares of Verizon Communications and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, October 25th. Finally, SunTrust Banks lifted their price objective on shares of Verizon Communications from $61.00 to $68.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 9th. Ten analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and six have given a buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $62.69.

Verizon Communications Company Profile

Verizon Communications Inc, through its subsidiaries, offers communications, information, and entertainment products and services to consumers, businesses, and governmental agencies worldwide. The company's Wireless segment provides wireless voice and data services; Internet access on various notebook computers and tablets; international travel wireless services; and network access services to deliver various Internet of Things products and services, as well as offers digital advertising and digital media services platforms.

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

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