West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. (NYSE:WST) was the recipient of a large increase in short interest during the month of September. As of September 15th, there was short interest totalling 1,670,580 shares, an increase of 50.0% from the August 31st total of 1,113,671 shares. Currently, 2.3% of the company’s shares are sold short. Based on an average trading volume of 536,299 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 3.1 days.

West Pharmaceutical Services (NYSE WST) opened at 94.84 on Friday. The firm has a 50-day moving average of $90.88 and a 200-day moving average of $90.62. West Pharmaceutical Services has a 52-week low of $70.17 and a 52-week high of $99.91. The firm has a market cap of $7.02 billion, a PE ratio of 40.70 and a beta of 1.12.

West Pharmaceutical Services (NYSE:WST) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 27th. The medical instruments supplier reported $0.66 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.65 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $397.60 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $406.00 million. West Pharmaceutical Services had a return on equity of 14.02% and a net margin of 11.42%. The firm’s revenue was up 2.5% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $0.59 EPS. Equities analysts anticipate that West Pharmaceutical Services will post $2.68 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, November 1st. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, October 18th will be issued a $0.14 dividend. This is a boost from West Pharmaceutical Services’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.13. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, October 17th. This represents a $0.56 annualized dividend and a yield of 0.59%. West Pharmaceutical Services’s payout ratio is 22.22%.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the business. Acrospire Investment Management LLC purchased a new stake in West Pharmaceutical Services in the 2nd quarter valued at about $113,000. Citigroup Inc. grew its holdings in West Pharmaceutical Services by 95.1% in the 2nd quarter. Citigroup Inc. now owns 1,569 shares of the medical instruments supplier’s stock valued at $148,000 after buying an additional 765 shares during the period. Wolverine Trading LLC purchased a new stake in West Pharmaceutical Services in the 2nd quarter valued at about $200,000. Nomura Holdings Inc. purchased a new stake in West Pharmaceutical Services in the 2nd quarter valued at about $201,000. Finally, Bradley Foster & Sargent Inc. CT purchased a new stake in West Pharmaceutical Services in the 2nd quarter valued at about $212,000. Institutional investors own 90.57% of the company’s stock.

WST has been the topic of several recent research reports. Jefferies Group LLC reissued a “hold” rating and set a $90.00 price target on shares of West Pharmaceutical Services in a research report on Thursday, June 8th. BidaskClub cut shares of West Pharmaceutical Services from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Thursday, July 27th. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of West Pharmaceutical Services from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 19th. Finally, Stephens initiated coverage on shares of West Pharmaceutical Services in a research report on Tuesday. They set an “equal weight” rating and a $99.00 price target on the stock. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have given a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the stock. West Pharmaceutical Services currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $107.00.

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About West Pharmaceutical Services

West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc is a manufacturer of packaging components and delivery systems for injectable drugs and healthcare products. The Company’s products include vial containment solutions, prefillable systems, self-injection platforms, cartridge systems and components, reconstitution and transfer systems, intradermal delivery solutions, specialty components, and contract manufacturing and analytical services.

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