Kirby Co. (NYSE:KEX) was the recipient of some unusual options trading on Thursday. Traders bought 3,245 call options on the stock. This is an increase of approximately 4,470% compared to the average daily volume of 71 call options.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. grew its position in Kirby by 79.8% during the 3rd quarter. Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. now owns 1,931 shares of the shipping company’s stock worth $127,000 after acquiring an additional 857 shares during the last quarter. Verition Fund Management LLC bought a new stake in Kirby during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $204,000. Trust Co bought a new stake in Kirby during the 3rd quarter worth approximately $208,000. Boothbay Fund Management LLC bought a new stake in Kirby during the 3rd quarter worth approximately $209,000. Finally, Koch Industries Inc. bought a new stake in Kirby during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $216,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 96.59% of the company’s stock.

Several equities research analysts have recently weighed in on KEX shares. Zacks Investment Research lowered Kirby from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Thursday, January 4th. Stifel Nicolaus reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $67.00 price objective on shares of Kirby in a research note on Friday, November 3rd. Stephens reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $70.00 price objective on shares of Kirby in a research note on Wednesday, January 10th. Finally, Jefferies Group started coverage on Kirby in a research note on Monday, December 18th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $85.00 price objective on the stock. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $74.50.

Shares of Kirby (NYSE KEX) opened at $74.80 on Tuesday. Kirby has a 12 month low of $59.25 and a 12 month high of $75.10. The firm has a market capitalization of $4,465.33, a P/E ratio of 35.45, a PEG ratio of 3.90 and a beta of 1.04. The company has a quick ratio of 1.23, a current ratio of 1.93 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.36.

Kirby (NYSE:KEX) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, November 1st. The shipping company reported $0.52 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.44 by $0.08. The business had revenue of $541.30 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $517.54 million. Kirby had a return on equity of 4.48% and a net margin of 5.88%. Kirby’s revenue for the quarter was up 24.5% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $0.59 EPS. sell-side analysts predict that Kirby will post 2.04 earnings per share for the current year.

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About Kirby

Kirby Corporation is a domestic tank barge operator, transporting bulk liquid products throughout the Mississippi River System, on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, coastwise along all three United States coasts and in Alaska and Hawaii. The Company, through its subsidiaries, operates in two segments: Marine Transportation and Diesel Engine Services.

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