Vetr cut shares of Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) from a strong-buy rating to a buy rating in a report issued on Monday morning. Vetr currently has $57.60 price objective on the cell phone carrier’s stock.

VZ has been the subject of several other reports. HSBC reiterated a hold rating and issued a $54.00 price target on shares of Verizon Communications in a report on Wednesday, September 28th. Jefferies Group reiterated a hold rating on shares of Verizon Communications in a report on Friday, September 2nd. Nomura reiterated a hold rating and issued a $47.00 price target on shares of Verizon Communications in a report on Monday, September 12th. Barclays PLC reiterated an equal weight rating and issued a $52.00 price target on shares of Verizon Communications in a report on Friday, August 26th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research downgraded Verizon Communications from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report on Monday, June 27th. Twenty-four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $54.44.

Analyst Recommendations for Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ)

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) opened at 51.88 on Monday. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $52.40 and its 200 day moving average price is $52.81. Verizon Communications has a 52-week low of $43.46 and a 52-week high of $56.95. The stock has a market capitalization of $211.48 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 14.66 and a beta of 0.30.

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, July 26th. The cell phone carrier reported $0.94 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.92 by $0.02. Verizon Communications had a return on equity of 87.41% and a net margin of 11.10%. The firm earned $30.53 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $30.95 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $1.04 EPS. The company’s quarterly revenue was down 5.3% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts forecast that Verizon Communications will post $3.89 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, November 1st. Shareholders of record on Friday, October 7th will be paid a $0.0125 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, October 5th. This represents a $0.05 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.10%. Verizon Communications’s payout ratio is currently 63.84%.

In other Verizon Communications news, EVP Craig L. Silliman sold 672 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, August 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $52.76, for a total value of $35,454.72. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 10,526 shares in the company, valued at $555,351.76. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. 0.10% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Several large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its position in Verizon Communications by 2.7% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 256,735,733 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $14,336,123,000 after buying an additional 6,630,874 shares during the period. State Street Corp boosted its position in Verizon Communications by 0.5% in the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 159,643,137 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $8,633,504,000 after buying an additional 744,122 shares during the period. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. boosted its position in Verizon Communications by 1.5% in the first quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. now owns 108,614,434 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $5,873,869,000 after buying an additional 1,582,173 shares during the period. Capital World Investors boosted its position in Verizon Communications by 0.5% in the second quarter. Capital World Investors now owns 79,798,661 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $4,455,957,000 after buying an additional 376,933 shares during the period. Finally, Wellington Management Group LLP boosted its position in Verizon Communications by 1.7% in the first quarter. Wellington Management Group LLP now owns 71,688,221 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $3,876,898,000 after buying an additional 1,174,260 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 63.47% of the company’s stock.

About Verizon Communications

Verizon Communications Inc (Verizon) is a holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, provides communications, information and entertainment products and services to consumers, businesses and governmental agencies. The Company offers voice, data and video services and solutions on its wireless and wireline networks.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:VZ

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