Franklin Resources Inc. Raises Position in Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ)

Franklin Resources Inc. grew its position in shares of Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) by 7.4% during the 1st quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund owned 26,661,814 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock after buying an additional 1,845,163 shares during the quarter. Verizon Communications makes up about 1.0% of Franklin Resources Inc.’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 9th biggest position. Franklin Resources Inc. owned 0.64% of Verizon Communications worth $1,432,555,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Other institutional investors have also recently modified their holdings of the company. Danda Trouve Investment Management Inc. acquired a new position in shares of Verizon Communications during the fourth quarter worth approximately $25,000. Lionsbridge Wealth Management LLC acquired a new position in shares of Verizon Communications during the fourth quarter worth approximately $32,000. HighMark Wealth Management LLC acquired a new position in shares of Verizon Communications during the fourth quarter worth approximately $33,000. AlphaCore Capital LLC acquired a new position in shares of Verizon Communications during the first quarter worth approximately $35,000. Finally, Permanens Capital L.P. acquired a new position in shares of Verizon Communications during the fourth quarter worth approximately $37,000. 65.45% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

VZ traded up $0.20 during mid-day trading on Tuesday, hitting $55.98. The stock had a trading volume of 9,531,450 shares, compared to its average volume of 15,706,547. The stock’s fifty day simple moving average is $56.44 and its 200-day simple moving average is $57.87. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.02, a current ratio of 0.99 and a quick ratio of 0.95. The firm has a market capitalization of $237.44 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 12.62, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.85 and a beta of 0.47. Verizon Communications Inc. has a 1-year low of $48.84 and a 1-year high of $62.22.

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) last posted its earnings results on Friday, April 24th. The cell phone carrier reported $1.26 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.22 by $0.04. The company had revenue of $31.81 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $32.37 billion. Verizon Communications had a net margin of 14.00% and a return on equity of 33.26%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was down 1.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the business posted $1.20 earnings per share. As a group, research analysts expect that Verizon Communications Inc. will post 4.77 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Verizon Communications announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a stock buyback program on Thursday, February 6th that authorizes the company to buyback 100,000,000 shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the cell phone carrier to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are usually a sign that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.

In other news, SVP Anthony T. Skiadas sold 10,744 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, May 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $57.10, for a total transaction of $613,482.40. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now owns 27,501 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,570,307.10. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Company insiders own 0.07% of the company’s stock.

A number of brokerages have recently issued reports on VZ. ValuEngine lowered shares of Verizon Communications from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Friday, May 1st. Cowen upgraded shares of Verizon Communications from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating and set a $61.00 target price on the stock in a research report on Monday, March 2nd. Nomura reiterated a “hold” rating and set a $61.00 target price on shares of Verizon Communications in a research report on Sunday, April 26th. Citigroup increased their price objective on shares of Verizon Communications from $55.00 to $60.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a report on Monday, April 27th. Finally, Nomura Securities cut their price objective on shares of Verizon Communications from $65.00 to $61.00 and set a “neutral” rating on the stock in a report on Monday, March 30th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, fifteen have issued a hold rating, six have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $61.63.

Verizon Communications Profile

Verizon Communications Inc, through its subsidiaries, offers communications, information, and entertainment products and services to consumers, businesses, and governmental agencies worldwide. The company's Wireless segment provides wireless voice and data services; Internet access on various notebook computers and tablets; international travel wireless services; and network access services to deliver various Internet of Things products and services, as well as offers digital advertising and digital media services platforms.

Further Reading: Strangles

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

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