Meridian Bancorp Inc (NASDAQ:EBSB) was the target of a significant drop in short interest in December. As of December 31st, there was short interest totalling 1,420,000 shares, a drop of 5.3% from the December 15th total of 1,500,000 shares. Based on an average daily volume of 159,100 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 8.9 days. Currently, 3.0% of the shares of the stock are sold short.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in EBSB. Meeder Asset Management Inc. bought a new stake in Meridian Bancorp in the 3rd quarter valued at $30,000. Tower Research Capital LLC TRC bought a new stake in Meridian Bancorp in the 3rd quarter valued at $55,000. SG Americas Securities LLC bought a new stake in Meridian Bancorp in the 3rd quarter valued at $100,000. Beese Fulmer Investment Management Inc. bought a new stake in Meridian Bancorp in the 3rd quarter valued at $190,000. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada lifted its position in Meridian Bancorp by 48.7% in the 2nd quarter. Royal Bank of Canada now owns 12,510 shares of the savings and loans company’s stock valued at $223,000 after acquiring an additional 4,095 shares in the last quarter. 66.04% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

A number of analysts recently weighed in on the stock. Raymond James initiated coverage on shares of Meridian Bancorp in a report on Tuesday, November 26th. They issued an “outperform” rating and a $22.00 price target for the company. BidaskClub lowered shares of Meridian Bancorp from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a report on Thursday. Finally, ValuEngine lowered shares of Meridian Bancorp from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Wednesday, October 2nd. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, one has given a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Meridian Bancorp presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $19.50.

Shares of NASDAQ EBSB opened at $19.40 on Thursday. The company’s fifty day moving average is $20.05 and its 200-day moving average is $18.95. The stock has a market cap of $1.04 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.30 and a beta of 0.57. Meridian Bancorp has a twelve month low of $14.62 and a twelve month high of $20.86. The company has a quick ratio of 1.22, a current ratio of 1.22 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.89.

Meridian Bancorp (NASDAQ:EBSB) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, October 22nd. The savings and loans company reported $0.38 earnings per share for the quarter. The company had revenue of $47.07 million for the quarter. Meridian Bancorp had a net margin of 23.00% and a return on equity of 9.00%. On average, research analysts anticipate that Meridian Bancorp will post 1.28 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, January 2nd. Stockholders of record on Thursday, December 19th were given a dividend of $0.08 per share. This represents a $0.32 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.65%. This is a boost from Meridian Bancorp’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.07. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, December 18th. Meridian Bancorp’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 30.19%.

About Meridian Bancorp

Meridian Bancorp, Inc operates as the holding company for East Boston Savings Bank that provides various financial products and services for individuals and businesses primarily in Suffolk, Norfolk, Middlesex and Essex Counties, Massachusetts. The company accepts various deposit products, including non-interest-bearing demand deposits, such as checking accounts; interest-bearing demand accounts comprising NOW and money market accounts; savings accounts; and certificates of deposits, as well as commercial checking accounts.

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