Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) was the target of some unusual options trading activity on Thursday. Investors bought 87,567 call options on the company. This is an increase of 524% compared to the typical volume of 14,028 call options.

Shares of Verizon Communications (VZ) opened at 48.81 on Friday. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $48.39 and a 200 day moving average of $47.08. The firm has a market capitalization of $199.12 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 12.55 and a beta of 0.56. Verizon Communications has a 52-week low of $42.80 and a 52-week high of $54.83.

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) last released its earnings results on Thursday, July 27th. The cell phone carrier reported $0.96 EPS for the quarter, hitting analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.96. Verizon Communications had a net margin of 12.88% and a return on equity of 63.06%. The business had revenue of $30.55 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $29.84 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $0.94 EPS. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up .1% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts predict that Verizon Communications will post $3.76 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, November 1st. Investors of record on Tuesday, October 10th will be issued a $0.59 dividend. This is an increase from Verizon Communications’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.58. This represents a $2.36 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 4.84%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, October 6th. Verizon Communications’s payout ratio is presently 59.23%.

Several research analysts recently issued reports on VZ shares. TheStreet raised shares of Verizon Communications from a “c+” rating to a “b-” rating in a report on Tuesday, August 8th. Vetr raised shares of Verizon Communications from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $47.44 price target for the company in a report on Wednesday, June 21st. Bank of America Corporation reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Verizon Communications in a report on Saturday, June 17th. Barclays PLC cut their price target on shares of Verizon Communications from $49.00 to $47.00 and set an “equal weight” rating for the company in a report on Friday, July 14th. Finally, Cowen and Company reissued a “hold” rating and set a $49.00 price target on shares of Verizon Communications in a report on Wednesday, July 19th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, twenty-one have assigned a hold rating, five have assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $52.86.

In other news, EVP Craig L. Silliman sold 610 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, July 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $47.74, for a total value of $29,121.40. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 7,819 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $373,279.06. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Insiders sold 1,830 shares of company stock valued at $88,828 over the last ninety days. Corporate insiders own 0.13% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Allegis Investment Advisors LLC raised its holdings in shares of Verizon Communications by 9.0% in the 1st quarter. Allegis Investment Advisors LLC now owns 59,067 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock worth $2,880,000 after purchasing an additional 4,898 shares in the last quarter. Excalibur Management Corp raised its holdings in shares of Verizon Communications by 5.7% in the 1st quarter. Excalibur Management Corp now owns 123,976 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock worth $6,044,000 after purchasing an additional 6,723 shares in the last quarter. Segantii Capital Management Ltd bought a new stake in shares of Verizon Communications in the 1st quarter worth approximately $6,094,000. Cascade Investment Advisors Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Verizon Communications by 0.4% in the 1st quarter. Cascade Investment Advisors Inc. now owns 33,945 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock worth $1,655,000 after purchasing an additional 125 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Carret Asset Management LLC raised its holdings in shares of Verizon Communications by 1.5% in the 1st quarter. Carret Asset Management LLC now owns 177,172 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock worth $8,637,000 after purchasing an additional 2,606 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 62.24% of the company’s stock.

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Verizon Communications Company Profile

Verizon Communications Inc is a holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, provides communications, information and entertainment products and services to consumers, businesses and governmental agencies. Its segments include Wireless and Wireline. The Wireless segment offers communications products and services, including wireless voice and data services and equipment sales, to consumer, business and government customers across the United States.

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