WestRock (NYSE:WRK) Sees Significant Growth in Short Interest

WestRock (NYSE:WRK) was the recipient of a significant growth in short interest during the month of August. As of August 31st, there was short interest totalling 4,170,000 shares, a growth of 27.1% from the August 15th total of 3,280,000 shares. Based on an average daily volume of 1,520,000 shares, the short-interest ratio is currently 2.7 days. Currently, 1.6% of the shares of the stock are short sold.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Price T Rowe Associates Inc. MD increased its holdings in WestRock by 5.6% in the second quarter. Price T Rowe Associates Inc. MD now owns 30,153,272 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $1,604,757,000 after purchasing an additional 1,605,498 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its holdings in WestRock by 1.6% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 29,987,226 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $1,595,921,000 after purchasing an additional 459,434 shares during the period. State Street Corp increased its holdings in WestRock by 4.4% in the second quarter. State Street Corp now owns 11,945,992 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $635,766,000 after purchasing an additional 504,456 shares during the period. JPMorgan Chase & Co. increased its holdings in WestRock by 8.2% in the second quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 6,394,769 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $340,329,000 after purchasing an additional 482,325 shares during the period. Finally, Geode Capital Management LLC increased its holdings in WestRock by 5.7% in the second quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 4,924,839 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $261,405,000 after purchasing an additional 264,941 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 82.02% of the company’s stock.

Several research firms have weighed in on WRK. Wells Fargo & Company upped their target price on WestRock from $65.00 to $71.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research note on Monday, June 21st. Zacks Investment Research cut WestRock from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $53.00 target price for the company. in a research note on Friday, July 16th. Finally, KeyCorp cut their target price on WestRock from $49.00 to $45.00 and set an “underweight” rating for the company in a research note on Friday, August 6th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating and six have given a buy rating to the stock. Based on data from MarketBeat, the company presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $58.40.

Shares of NYSE:WRK opened at $48.19 on Wednesday. The company has a fifty day moving average of $50.25 and a 200-day moving average of $53.18. The company has a market capitalization of $12.87 billion, a PE ratio of -19.05, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 0.54 and a beta of 1.26. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.71, a quick ratio of 0.93 and a current ratio of 1.49. WestRock has a 52-week low of $32.01 and a 52-week high of $62.03.

WestRock (NYSE:WRK) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, August 5th. The basic materials company reported $1.00 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.97 by $0.03. The company had revenue of $4.82 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $4.71 billion. WestRock had a negative net margin of 3.54% and a positive return on equity of 6.96%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 13.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $0.76 earnings per share. On average, equities analysts forecast that WestRock will post 3.38 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, August 24th. Investors of record on Friday, August 13th were issued a $0.24 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, August 12th. This represents a $0.96 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.99%. WestRock’s payout ratio is 34.78%.

About WestRock

WestRock Co engages in the provision of paper and packaging solutions. It operates through the following segments: Corrugated Packaging, Consumer Packaging, and Land and Development. The Corrugated Packaging segment consists of its containerboard mill and corrugated packaging operations, as well as recycling operations.

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