LPL Financial Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:LPLA) was the target of a large drop in short interest during the month of February. As of February 28th, there was short interest totalling 1,478,669 shares, a drop of 41.4% from the February 15th total of 2,522,850 shares. Currently, 1.8% of the company’s shares are short sold. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 992,676 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 1.5 days.

LPLA has been the subject of a number of research analyst reports. Compass Point initiated coverage on shares of LPL Financial in a research report on Monday, March 11th. They set a “buy” rating and a $82.00 price objective for the company. Morgan Stanley set a $70.00 price objective on shares of LPL Financial and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, February 8th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of LPL Financial from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $86.00 price objective for the company in a research report on Thursday, February 7th. BidaskClub raised shares of LPL Financial from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research report on Saturday, January 19th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $91.00 price objective on shares of LPL Financial in a research report on Monday, February 4th. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, eight have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. LPL Financial presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $80.60.

In related news, CEO Dan H. Arnold sold 36,774 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, January 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $70.00, for a total transaction of $2,574,180.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 269,761 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $18,883,270. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, insider Thomas Gooley sold 43,440 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, February 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $74.83, for a total transaction of $3,250,615.20. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 41,868 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $3,132,982.44. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 189,418 shares of company stock valued at $13,893,460 in the last 90 days. Insiders own 2.60% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of LPLA. Private Advisor Group LLC boosted its position in LPL Financial by 51.9% in the 3rd quarter. Private Advisor Group LLC now owns 22,100 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $1,426,000 after buying an additional 7,550 shares during the period. Comerica Bank raised its holdings in shares of LPL Financial by 466.3% in the 3rd quarter. Comerica Bank now owns 22,277 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $1,242,000 after purchasing an additional 18,343 shares in the last quarter. WINTON GROUP Ltd raised its holdings in shares of LPL Financial by 64.7% in the 3rd quarter. WINTON GROUP Ltd now owns 7,700 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $497,000 after purchasing an additional 3,025 shares in the last quarter. Virginia Retirement Systems ET AL raised its holdings in shares of LPL Financial by 38.0% in the 3rd quarter. Virginia Retirement Systems ET AL now owns 20,700 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $1,335,000 after purchasing an additional 5,700 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Janney Montgomery Scott LLC acquired a new stake in shares of LPL Financial in the 3rd quarter valued at $533,000. 90.07% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

Shares of LPLA stock opened at $74.54 on Friday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.44, a current ratio of 1.34 and a quick ratio of 1.34. LPL Financial has a 52 week low of $52.03 and a 52 week high of $79.34. The company has a market capitalization of $6.32 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 13.98, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 0.76 and a beta of 1.64.

LPL Financial (NASDAQ:LPLA) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, January 31st. The financial services provider reported $1.49 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.37 by $0.12. LPL Financial had a net margin of 8.47% and a return on equity of 46.58%. The company had revenue of $1.32 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.36 billion. As a group, equities analysts forecast that LPL Financial will post 6.46 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, March 29th. Shareholders of record on Friday, March 15th will be given a $0.25 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, March 14th. This represents a $1.00 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.34%. LPL Financial’s dividend payout ratio is presently 18.76%.

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LPL Financial Company Profile

LPL Financial Holdings Inc, together with its subsidiaries, provides an integrated platform of brokerage and investment advisory services to independent financial advisors and financial advisors at financial institutions in the United States. Its brokerage offerings include variable and fixed annuities, mutual funds, equities, retirement and 529 education savings plans, fixed income, and insurance, as well as alternative investments, such as non-traded real estate investment trusts and business development companies.

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