Green Plains Inc (NASDAQ:GPRE) was the recipient of some unusual options trading on Thursday. Stock traders acquired 2,616 call options on the company. This is an increase of 855% compared to the average daily volume of 274 call options.

In other Green Plains news, Director Wayne Hoovestol purchased 102,653 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, November 17th. The stock was purchased at an average cost of $16.37 per share, with a total value of $1,680,429.61. Following the acquisition, the director now directly owns 218,277 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $3,573,194.49. The acquisition was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, insider Todd A. Becker purchased 9,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, December 22nd. The shares were acquired at an average cost of $16.74 per share, with a total value of $150,660.00. Following the completion of the acquisition, the insider now directly owns 716,588 shares in the company, valued at $11,995,683.12. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders have purchased a total of 127,136 shares of company stock valued at $2,087,178 over the last ninety days. Insiders own 6.40% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in GPRE. Van ECK Associates Corp increased its stake in shares of Green Plains by 70.0% in the 3rd quarter. Van ECK Associates Corp now owns 3,588,878 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $72,316,000 after buying an additional 1,478,073 shares during the period. Private Management Group Inc. acquired a new stake in shares of Green Plains in the 3rd quarter valued at $19,315,000. Deprince Race & Zollo Inc. acquired a new stake in shares of Green Plains in the 4th quarter valued at $9,045,000. JPMorgan Chase & Co. increased its stake in shares of Green Plains by 65.5% in the 3rd quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 986,647 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $19,734,000 after buying an additional 390,572 shares during the period. Finally, Northern Trust Corp increased its stake in shares of Green Plains by 51.8% in the 2nd quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 1,083,248 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $22,260,000 after buying an additional 369,744 shares during the period.

A number of equities research analysts recently weighed in on GPRE shares. BidaskClub raised Green Plains from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Thursday. ValuEngine cut Green Plains from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Friday, February 2nd. Piper Jaffray Companies reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $27.00 price target on shares of Green Plains in a report on Wednesday. Zacks Investment Research cut Green Plains from a “hold” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a report on Thursday, October 26th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets reaffirmed an “outperform” rating and set a $25.00 price target (down from $30.00) on shares of Green Plains in a report on Monday, November 6th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, one has issued a hold rating and six have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Green Plains presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $26.67.

Shares of Green Plains (NASDAQ:GPRE) opened at $17.75 on Friday. The company has a market capitalization of $710.61, a price-to-earnings ratio of 15.99, a PEG ratio of 3.06 and a beta of 1.55. Green Plains has a 52 week low of $15.60 and a 52 week high of $26.05. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.72, a current ratio of 1.36 and a quick ratio of 0.70.

Green Plains (NASDAQ:GPRE) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, February 7th. The specialty chemicals company reported ($0.16) EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of ($0.17) by $0.01. The company had revenue of $920.98 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $953.30 million. Green Plains had a negative return on equity of 3.33% and a net margin of 1.70%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was down 1.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the firm earned $0.47 EPS. sell-side analysts predict that Green Plains will post 0.57 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, March 15th. Stockholders of record on Friday, February 23rd will be paid a $0.12 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, February 22nd. This represents a $0.48 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.70%. Green Plains’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 43.24%.

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About Green Plains

Green Plains Inc is an ethanol producer. The Company owns and operates assets throughout the ethanol value chain, including upstream, with grain handling and storage through its ethanol production facilities, and downstream, with marketing and distribution services. It operates through four segments: Ethanol Production, Agribusiness and Energy Services, Food and Food Ingredients, and Partnership.

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