Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (NASDAQ:WBA) was the target of a large growth in short interest in the month of July. As of July 31st, there was short interest totalling 12,659,677 shares, a growth of 20.4% from the July 14th total of 10,515,378 shares. Approximately 1.4% of the company’s shares are short sold. Based on an average daily volume of 5,405,227 shares, the short-interest ratio is currently 2.3 days.

In other Walgreens Boots Alliance news, Director William C. Foote sold 2,736 shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, July 25th. The stock was sold at an average price of $79.79, for a total value of $218,305.44. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 19,151 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,528,058.29. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. 13.50% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. State Street Corp increased its position in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 1.8% in the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 37,612,843 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $3,123,757,000 after buying an additional 677,743 shares during the last quarter. Wellington Management Group LLP increased its position in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 5.9% in the first quarter. Wellington Management Group LLP now owns 32,846,862 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $2,727,932,000 after buying an additional 1,824,300 shares during the last quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. increased its position in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 24.7% in the second quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. now owns 18,502,701 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $1,448,939,000 after buying an additional 3,662,302 shares during the last quarter. Nordea Investment Management AB increased its position in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 26.5% in the first quarter. Nordea Investment Management AB now owns 9,154,328 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $760,267,000 after buying an additional 1,917,082 shares during the last quarter. Finally, CI Global Investments Inc. increased its position in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 4.8% in the second quarter. CI Global Investments Inc. now owns 5,931,592 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $464,503,000 after buying an additional 270,182 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 61.17% of the company’s stock.

WBA has been the topic of a number of analyst reports. Jefferies Group LLC decreased their price target on Walgreens Boots Alliance from $95.00 to $80.00 and set a “buy” rating on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, May 31st. Zacks Investment Research cut Walgreens Boots Alliance from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Wednesday, June 14th. BidaskClub cut Walgreens Boots Alliance from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research note on Saturday, June 24th. Needham & Company LLC initiated coverage on Walgreens Boots Alliance in a research note on Tuesday, June 27th. They issued a “hold” rating on the stock. Finally, Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (The) reaffirmed a “neutral” rating and issued a $77.00 price target (down from $89.00) on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance in a research note on Wednesday, June 28th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating and fourteen have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $90.69.

Shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) opened at 79.75 on Friday. The company has a market capitalization of $85.34 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 20.14 and a beta of 1.25. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $78.96 and its 200 day moving average price is $82.30. Walgreens Boots Alliance has a 52-week low of $75.18 and a 52-week high of $89.69.

Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, June 29th. The pharmacy operator reported $1.33 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.30 by $0.03. Walgreens Boots Alliance had a return on equity of 17.34% and a net margin of 3.69%. The firm had revenue of $30.12 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $29.72 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $1.18 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 2.1% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts predict that Walgreens Boots Alliance will post $5.01 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, September 12th. Shareholders of record on Friday, August 18th will be issued a dividend of $0.40 per share. This is an increase from Walgreens Boots Alliance’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.38. This represents a $1.60 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.01%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, August 16th. Walgreens Boots Alliance’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 37.78%.

Walgreens Boots Alliance declared that its board has approved a stock repurchase program on Thursday, June 29th that permits the company to buyback $5.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization permits the pharmacy operator to purchase up to 5.9% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are generally a sign that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

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About Walgreens Boots Alliance

Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc (Walgreens Boots Alliance) is a holding company. The Company is a global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise. Walgreens Boots Alliance operates through three divisions, including Retail Pharmacy USA, Retail Pharmacy International and Pharmaceutical Wholesale. The Company’s products are marketed under a number of brands, which include No7, the Botanics range, Almus (generic medicines), Boots Pharmaceuticals and Soap & Glory (bathing and beauty brand).

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