Caterpillar Sees Unusually Large Options Volume (NYSE:CAT)

Caterpillar, Inc. (NYSE:CAT) saw unusually large options trading activity on Thursday. Stock traders acquired 14,052 put options on the company. This is an increase of approximately 107% compared to the typical daily volume of 6,777 put options.

Caterpillar (CAT) traded down 0.27% on Friday, hitting $112.85. The stock had a trading volume of 2,130,558 shares. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $109.77 and a 200-day moving average of $101.19. The company has a market cap of $66.69 billion, a PE ratio of 630.45 and a beta of 1.25. Caterpillar has a one year low of $79.93 and a one year high of $115.46.

Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, July 25th. The industrial products company reported $1.49 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.26 by $0.23. Caterpillar had a return on equity of 18.52% and a net margin of 0.27%. The business had revenue of $11.33 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $10.96 billion. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $1.09 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 9.6% on a year-over-year basis. Equities analysts expect that Caterpillar will post $5.24 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Saturday, August 19th. Investors of record on Thursday, July 20th will be paid a dividend of $0.78 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, July 18th. This represents a $3.12 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.76%. This is a boost from Caterpillar’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.77. Caterpillar’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 2,080.00%.

A number of equities analysts have recently issued reports on CAT shares. TheStreet upgraded shares of Caterpillar from a “c+” rating to a “b” rating in a research report on Tuesday, July 25th. Deutsche Bank AG restated a “buy” rating and set a $118.00 target price (up from $105.00) on shares of Caterpillar in a research report on Saturday, April 29th. Bank of America Corporation restated a “buy” rating and set a $120.00 target price on shares of Caterpillar in a research report on Thursday, May 25th. Vetr upgraded shares of Caterpillar from a “sell” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $107.75 target price on the stock in a research report on Monday, May 8th. Finally, Raymond James Financial, Inc. upgraded shares of Caterpillar to a “buy” rating and set a $55.00 target price on the stock in a research report on Thursday, April 27th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have issued a hold rating, thirteen have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $107.15.

In other Caterpillar news, insider Bradley M. Halverson sold 182,612 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, July 27th. The shares were sold at an average price of $114.05, for a total transaction of $20,826,898.60. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, insider Suzette M. Long sold 13,859 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, August 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $114.30, for a total transaction of $1,584,083.70. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 18,188 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,078,888.40. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders have sold 201,471 shares of company stock worth $22,979,332. 0.15% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Baker Ellis Asset Management LLC purchased a new position in shares of Caterpillar during the second quarter valued at $104,000. Motco boosted its position in shares of Caterpillar by 264.9% in the second quarter. Motco now owns 989 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $106,000 after buying an additional 718 shares in the last quarter. Acrospire Investment Management LLC boosted its position in shares of Caterpillar by 900.0% in the second quarter. Acrospire Investment Management LLC now owns 1,000 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $107,000 after buying an additional 900 shares in the last quarter. Howe & Rusling Inc. boosted its position in shares of Caterpillar by 52.0% in the first quarter. Howe & Rusling Inc. now owns 1,087 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $101,000 after buying an additional 372 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Reilly Financial Advisors LLC boosted its position in shares of Caterpillar by 92.9% in the second quarter. Reilly Financial Advisors LLC now owns 1,111 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $119,000 after buying an additional 535 shares in the last quarter. 70.53% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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