Short Interest in Webster Financial Co. (NYSE:WBS) Grows By 18.8%

Webster Financial Co. (NYSE:WBS) was the recipient of a large growth in short interest in August. As of August 31st, there was short interest totalling 3,989,000 shares, a growth of 18.8% from the July 31st total of 3,356,600 shares. Approximately 4.4% of the shares of the stock are sold short. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 671,100 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 5.9 days.

WBS stock traded up $1.15 during mid-day trading on Friday, reaching $49.26. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 581,861 shares, compared to its average volume of 571,683. The stock has a market cap of $4.50 billion, a PE ratio of 13.17, a P/E/G ratio of 1.49 and a beta of 1.29. The company has a current ratio of 0.83, a quick ratio of 0.83 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.67. Webster Financial has a fifty-two week low of $42.62 and a fifty-two week high of $63.34. The company’s 50 day moving average is $46.78 and its two-hundred day moving average is $49.61.

Webster Financial (NYSE:WBS) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 18th. The financial services provider reported $1.05 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.03 by $0.02. The company had revenue of $317.60 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $312.36 million. Webster Financial had a net margin of 27.99% and a return on equity of 13.80%. Webster Financial’s quarterly revenue was up 8.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $0.86 EPS. On average, analysts forecast that Webster Financial will post 4.11 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, August 19th. Shareholders of record on Monday, August 5th were issued a $0.40 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Friday, August 2nd. This represents a $1.60 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.25%. Webster Financial’s payout ratio is 42.78%.

WBS has been the topic of a number of research reports. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Webster Financial from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $49.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Friday, July 5th. Morgan Stanley raised shares of Webster Financial from an “underweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating and set a $51.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Monday, July 1st. Finally, Boenning Scattergood reaffirmed a “neutral” rating on shares of Webster Financial in a research note on Friday, July 19th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have issued a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Webster Financial has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $56.25.

In related news, Director John Joseph Crawford sold 1,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, July 23rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $49.49, for a total value of $49,490.00. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 16,099 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $796,739.51. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, EVP Daniel Bley sold 2,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, July 31st. The shares were sold at an average price of $51.45, for a total transaction of $102,900.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 18,654 shares in the company, valued at $959,748.30. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 4,000 shares of company stock worth $203,670 over the last ninety days. 1.53% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in WBS. Municipal Employees Retirement System of Michigan increased its holdings in shares of Webster Financial by 1.4% during the 2nd quarter. Municipal Employees Retirement System of Michigan now owns 17,060 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $815,000 after buying an additional 240 shares during the last quarter. Advisory Services Network LLC boosted its position in Webster Financial by 10.1% in the 1st quarter. Advisory Services Network LLC now owns 2,988 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $151,000 after buying an additional 275 shares during the period. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank boosted its position in Webster Financial by 4.8% in the 2nd quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank now owns 6,301 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $301,000 after buying an additional 288 shares during the period. Commerce Bank boosted its position in Webster Financial by 2.4% in the 1st quarter. Commerce Bank now owns 13,055 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $661,000 after buying an additional 300 shares during the period. Finally, Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund boosted its position in Webster Financial by 1.4% in the 2nd quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 37,384 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $1,786,000 after buying an additional 528 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 88.52% of the company’s stock.

About Webster Financial

Webster Financial Corporation operates as the holding company for Webster Bank, National Association that provides a range of banking, investment, and financial services to individuals, families, and businesses in the United States. It operates through three segments: Commercial Banking, HSA Bank, and Community Banking.

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