Northern Trust Co. (NASDAQ:NTRS) gapped down before the market opened on Thursday after the company announced weaker than expected quarterly earnings. The stock had previously closed at $95.76, but opened at $94.21. Northern Trust shares last traded at $93.96, with a volume of 69510 shares changing hands.

The asset manager reported $1.58 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $1.61 by ($0.03). Northern Trust had a net margin of 23.28% and a return on equity of 15.75%. The business had revenue of $1.48 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.52 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $1.20 earnings per share. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 9.4% on a year-over-year basis.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 1st. Shareholders of record on Friday, December 14th will be paid a $0.55 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, December 13th. This represents a $2.20 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.36%. Northern Trust’s payout ratio is currently 45.55%.

Northern Trust announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a stock repurchase plan on Tuesday, July 17th that allows the company to repurchase 25,000,000 outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization allows the asset manager to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are often a sign that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.

Several brokerages have issued reports on NTRS. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Northern Trust from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $124.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Friday, July 20th. BidaskClub downgraded shares of Northern Trust from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Tuesday, July 3rd. Deutsche Bank decreased their price objective on shares of Northern Trust from $116.00 to $115.00 and set a “hold” rating for the company in a research report on Thursday, October 11th. Citigroup lifted their price objective on shares of Northern Trust from $108.00 to $118.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research report on Friday, July 20th. Finally, Buckingham Research decreased their price objective on shares of Northern Trust from $119.00 to $114.00 and set a “neutral” rating for the company in a research report on Thursday. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have issued a hold rating, eight have assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. Northern Trust has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $117.00.

In related news, CFO Biff Bowman sold 21,352 shares of Northern Trust stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $111.11, for a total transaction of $2,372,420.72. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, insider Peter Cherecwich sold 19,761 shares of Northern Trust stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, August 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $111.35, for a total transaction of $2,200,387.35. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders sold 67,864 shares of company stock valued at $7,533,831. Insiders own 1.04% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Hexavest Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of Northern Trust by 26.6% during the 3rd quarter. Hexavest Inc. now owns 2,319 shares of the asset manager’s stock worth $237,000 after buying an additional 487 shares during the period. Advisor Partners LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Northern Trust by 8.9% during the 2nd quarter. Advisor Partners LLC now owns 6,468 shares of the asset manager’s stock worth $666,000 after buying an additional 530 shares during the period. World Asset Management Inc boosted its holdings in Northern Trust by 4.0% in the 3rd quarter. World Asset Management Inc now owns 13,870 shares of the asset manager’s stock valued at $1,417,000 after purchasing an additional 539 shares during the period. Raymond James Trust N.A. boosted its holdings in Northern Trust by 16.3% in the 3rd quarter. Raymond James Trust N.A. now owns 4,040 shares of the asset manager’s stock valued at $413,000 after purchasing an additional 566 shares during the period. Finally, Boston Advisors LLC boosted its holdings in Northern Trust by 27.8% in the 2nd quarter. Boston Advisors LLC now owns 2,760 shares of the asset manager’s stock valued at $284,000 after purchasing an additional 600 shares during the period. 77.99% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.36, a quick ratio of 0.66 and a current ratio of 0.65. The firm has a market cap of $21.04 billion, a PE ratio of 19.28, a PEG ratio of 1.17 and a beta of 0.94.

About Northern Trust (NASDAQ:NTRS)

Northern Trust Corporation, a financial holding company, provides asset servicing, fund administration, asset management, fiduciary, and banking solutions for corporations, institutions, families, and individuals worldwide. It operates through Corporate & Institutional Services (C&IS) and Wealth Management segments.

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