Centurylink Inc (NYSE:CTL) was the target of a large increase in short interest during the month of February. As of February 28th, there was short interest totalling 109,534,673 shares, an increase of 5.3% from the February 15th total of 104,031,496 shares. Based on an average trading volume of 16,223,897 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 6.8 days. Currently, 10.2% of the company’s shares are sold short.

NYSE CTL opened at $12.09 on Monday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.79, a quick ratio of 0.78 and a current ratio of 0.69. Centurylink has a twelve month low of $11.52 and a twelve month high of $24.20. The company has a market cap of $13.05 billion, a P/E ratio of 10.16, a PEG ratio of 1.84 and a beta of 0.78.

Centurylink (NYSE:CTL) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, February 13th. The technology company reported $0.37 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.36 by $0.01. Centurylink had a positive return on equity of 5.68% and a negative net margin of 7.39%. The company had revenue of $5.78 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.78 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $0.18 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up 8.5% on a year-over-year basis. Research analysts predict that Centurylink will post 1.24 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, March 22nd. Investors of record on Tuesday, March 12th will be given a dividend of $0.25 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, March 11th. This represents a $1.00 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 8.27%. Centurylink’s dividend payout ratio is presently 84.03%.

A number of brokerages have recently weighed in on CTL. Zacks Investment Research lowered Centurylink from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, November 30th. UBS Group lowered Centurylink from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and cut their price objective for the stock from $24.00 to $14.00 in a research report on Thursday, February 14th. ValuEngine lowered Centurylink from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research report on Thursday, February 14th. TheStreet lowered Centurylink from a “b-” rating to a “c+” rating in a research report on Friday, January 4th. Finally, Edward Jones lowered Centurylink to a “sell” rating in a research report on Tuesday, March 5th. Six equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $16.75.

In related news, major shareholder Holdings (Private) Ltd Temasek sold 16,000,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, January 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $15.90, for a total transaction of $254,400,000.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, CFO Indraneel Dev acquired 50,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, March 6th. The stock was acquired at an average price of $11.75 per share, for a total transaction of $587,500.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief financial officer now owns 459,153 shares in the company, valued at approximately $5,395,047.75. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders have purchased 143,000 shares of company stock worth $1,698,720. 0.60% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in CTL. Norges Bank bought a new stake in shares of Centurylink during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $120,981,000. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund boosted its position in shares of Centurylink by 2,975.0% during the fourth quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 6,281,402 shares of the technology company’s stock valued at $415,000 after purchasing an additional 6,077,131 shares in the last quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP boosted its position in shares of Centurylink by 12.0% during the fourth quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 14,763,545 shares of the technology company’s stock valued at $223,688,000 after purchasing an additional 1,587,647 shares in the last quarter. Millennium Management LLC boosted its position in shares of Centurylink by 29.8% during the fourth quarter. Millennium Management LLC now owns 5,762,976 shares of the technology company’s stock valued at $87,309,000 after purchasing an additional 1,323,554 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Fifth Third Bancorp boosted its position in shares of Centurylink by 1,430.9% during the third quarter. Fifth Third Bancorp now owns 1,226,910 shares of the technology company’s stock valued at $26,010,000 after purchasing an additional 1,146,769 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 75.27% of the company’s stock.

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Centurylink Company Profile

CenturyLink, Inc provides various communications services to residential, business, wholesale, and governmental customers primarily in the United States. It operates in two segments, Business and Consumer. The company offers virtual private network data network services; Ethernet services; Internet protocol services; CenturyLink Prism TV that allows customers to watch television or cable channels and record up to four shows on one home digital video recorder; and Vyvx, which provides audio and video feeds over fiber or satellite for broadcast and production customers, as well as satellite digital television services.

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