Consolidated Communications Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:CNSL) was the recipient of a significant growth in short interest during the month of February. As of February 28th, there was short interest totalling 13,508,019 shares, a growth of 14.3% from the February 15th total of 11,818,988 shares. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 1,395,838 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 9.7 days. Approximately 19.6% of the shares of the company are short sold.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Geode Capital Management LLC raised its holdings in Consolidated Communications by 16.6% in the 4th quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 798,187 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $7,886,000 after purchasing an additional 113,703 shares during the period. Norges Bank acquired a new position in Consolidated Communications in the 4th quarter worth about $7,010,000. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP raised its holdings in Consolidated Communications by 5.1% in the 4th quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 4,320,113 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $42,683,000 after purchasing an additional 209,049 shares during the period. Millennium Management LLC acquired a new position in Consolidated Communications in the 4th quarter worth about $1,305,000. Finally, Macquarie Group Ltd. acquired a new position in Consolidated Communications in the 4th quarter worth about $87,000. 70.51% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

A number of brokerages have recently commented on CNSL. BidaskClub downgraded Consolidated Communications from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, December 5th. Wells Fargo & Co downgraded Consolidated Communications from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and lowered their target price for the stock from $13.50 to $11.25 in a research note on Tuesday, January 8th. Zacks Investment Research downgraded Consolidated Communications from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Friday, February 22nd. Finally, Raymond James downgraded Consolidated Communications from a “strong-buy” rating to an “outperform” rating in a research note on Tuesday, February 19th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have given a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the stock. Consolidated Communications has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $13.63.

Shares of CNSL opened at $10.28 on Friday. Consolidated Communications has a 52 week low of $8.51 and a 52 week high of $14.23. The company has a current ratio of 0.70, a quick ratio of 0.70 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 5.54. The stock has a market capitalization of $747.50 million, a PE ratio of -24.48 and a beta of 1.07.

Consolidated Communications (NASDAQ:CNSL) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, February 21st. The utilities provider reported ($0.10) earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of ($0.11) by $0.01. The company had revenue of $344.80 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $340.90 million. Consolidated Communications had a negative return on equity of 5.80% and a negative net margin of 3.63%. Consolidated Communications’s quarterly revenue was down 3.3% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted ($0.04) EPS. On average, research analysts predict that Consolidated Communications will post -0.4 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, May 1st. Investors of record on Monday, April 15th will be issued a $0.3874 dividend. This is a boost from Consolidated Communications’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.39. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, April 12th. This represents a $1.55 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 15.07%. Consolidated Communications’s dividend payout ratio is presently -369.05%.

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Consolidated Communications Company Profile

Consolidated Communications Holdings, Inc, through its subsidiaries, provides various integrated communications services to business and residential customers in the United States. It offers a range of communication services and products that include local and long-distance, high-speed broadband Internet access, video, voice over Internet protocol, private line, custom calling features, security, cloud, data center, managed and IT, and directory publishing services, as well as engages in equipment sales activities.

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