First Merchants Corp Decreases Position in Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ)

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First Merchants Corp reduced its stake in shares of Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) by 1.6% in the 4th quarter, according to the company in its most recent Form 13F filing with the SEC. The firm owned 100,034 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock after selling 1,670 shares during the quarter. Verizon Communications makes up approximately 1.1% of First Merchants Corp’s portfolio, making the stock its 24th largest position. First Merchants Corp’s holdings in Verizon Communications were worth $5,624,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Several other hedge funds also recently bought and sold shares of VZ. Daiwa SB Investments Ltd. raised its position in Verizon Communications by 120.0% during the fourth quarter. Daiwa SB Investments Ltd. now owns 880 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $49,000 after acquiring an additional 480 shares in the last quarter. Cascade Investment Advisors Inc. raised its position in Verizon Communications by 21.5% during the fourth quarter. Cascade Investment Advisors Inc. now owns 1,033 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $58,000 after acquiring an additional 183 shares in the last quarter. Advisors Preferred LLC bought a new position in Verizon Communications during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $66,000. Advocacy Wealth Management Services LLC raised its position in Verizon Communications by 25.9% during the fourth quarter. Advocacy Wealth Management Services LLC now owns 1,265 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $71,000 after acquiring an additional 260 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Lenox Wealth Management Inc. raised its position in Verizon Communications by 89.0% during the fourth quarter. Lenox Wealth Management Inc. now owns 1,482 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $83,000 after acquiring an additional 698 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 67.12% of the company’s stock.

In related news, EVP Craig L. Silliman sold 1,349 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, April 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $56.06, for a total transaction of $75,624.94. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 28,077 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,573,996.62. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, SVP Anthony T. Skiadas sold 6,134 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, May 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $57.11, for a total transaction of $350,312.74. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 20,000 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,142,200. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 296,169 shares of company stock worth $16,805,577 in the last ninety days. 0.03% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

VZ has been the topic of several recent research reports. ValuEngine lowered shares of Verizon Communications from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, January 29th. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Verizon Communications from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, May 6th. Goldman Sachs Group reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $65.00 price target on shares of Verizon Communications in a research report on Tuesday, April 23rd. Bank of America set a $64.00 price target on shares of Verizon Communications and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, April 23rd. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada reissued a “neutral” rating and issued a $57.00 price target on shares of Verizon Communications in a research report on Tuesday, April 23rd. Nine analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and six have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $57.76.

NYSE:VZ opened at $56.81 on Thursday. Verizon Communications Inc. has a 12 month low of $47.13 and a 12 month high of $61.58. The company has a market capitalization of $232.90 billion, a PE ratio of 12.06, a PEG ratio of 2.96 and a beta of 0.48. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.83, a quick ratio of 0.83 and a current ratio of 0.87.

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, April 23rd. The cell phone carrier reported $1.20 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.17 by $0.03. Verizon Communications had a net margin of 12.20% and a return on equity of 35.40%. The company had revenue of $32.13 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $32.13 billion. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $1.17 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 1.1% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts predict that Verizon Communications Inc. will post 4.75 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, May 1st. Investors of record on Wednesday, April 10th were given a dividend of $0.6025 per share. This represents a $2.41 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 4.24%. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, April 9th. Verizon Communications’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 51.17%.

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About Verizon Communications

Verizon Communications, Inc is a holding company, which engages in the provision communications, information and entertainment products and services to consumers, businesses and governmental agencies. It operates through Wireless and Wireline segments. The Wireless segment provides wireless voice and data services and equipment sales, which are provided to consumer, business, and government customers.

Read More: Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ)

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