Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. boosted its position in Ball Co. (NYSE:BLL) by 170.0% during the 4th quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The firm owned 1,981,488 shares of the industrial products company’s stock after buying an additional 1,247,491 shares during the quarter. Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc.’s holdings in Ball were worth $91,109,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission.

Other large investors have also recently modified their holdings of the company. Cascade Investment Advisors Inc. acquired a new position in Ball during the 4th quarter valued at about $32,000. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund increased its stake in Ball by 4,406.0% during the 4th quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 1,720,250 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $37,000 after buying an additional 1,682,073 shares during the period. IFP Advisors Inc increased its stake in Ball by 24.5% during the 4th quarter. IFP Advisors Inc now owns 1,062 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $48,000 after buying an additional 209 shares during the period. Legacy Financial Advisors Inc. increased its stake in Ball by 29.0% during the 4th quarter. Legacy Financial Advisors Inc. now owns 1,060 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $49,000 after buying an additional 238 shares during the period. Finally, Gemmer Asset Management LLC increased its stake in Ball by 204.6% during the 4th quarter. Gemmer Asset Management LLC now owns 1,191 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $55,000 after buying an additional 800 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 86.11% of the company’s stock.

In other news, Chairman John A. Hayes sold 91,701 shares of Ball stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, February 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $55.20, for a total value of $5,061,895.20. Following the transaction, the chairman now owns 467,844 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $25,824,988.80. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, COO Daniel William Fisher sold 7,000 shares of Ball stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, February 6th. The stock was sold at an average price of $53.13, for a total transaction of $371,910.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief operating officer now directly owns 38,661 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,054,058.93. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 128,299 shares of company stock worth $7,039,095 in the last ninety days. Corporate insiders own 1.80% of the company’s stock.

Several equities analysts have commented on BLL shares. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Ball from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Thursday, January 3rd. KeyCorp reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Ball in a research note on Monday, January 7th. UBS Group cut shares of Ball from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $58.00 target price on the stock. in a research note on Friday, February 15th. Morgan Stanley started coverage on shares of Ball in a research note on Wednesday, January 16th. They set an “overweight” rating and a $55.00 target price on the stock. Finally, BMO Capital Markets raised their target price on shares of Ball from $55.00 to $60.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research note on Wednesday, February 13th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have assigned a hold rating and nine have given a buy rating to the company. The stock has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $53.08.

Shares of BLL opened at $58.12 on Thursday. The company has a market capitalization of $19.34 billion, a PE ratio of 26.42, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 4.03 and a beta of 0.82. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.83, a quick ratio of 0.65 and a current ratio of 0.96. Ball Co. has a 12-month low of $34.71 and a 12-month high of $58.50.

Ball (NYSE:BLL) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, January 31st. The industrial products company reported $0.55 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.56 by ($0.01). The business had revenue of $2.80 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.68 billion. Ball had a return on equity of 20.08% and a net margin of 3.90%. As a group, research analysts forecast that Ball Co. will post 2.61 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Ball declared that its Board of Directors has approved a stock repurchase program on Wednesday, January 23rd that permits the company to repurchase 50,000,000 shares. This repurchase authorization permits the industrial products company to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are usually an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, March 15th. Stockholders of record on Friday, March 1st were paid a $0.10 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, February 28th. This represents a $0.40 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.69%. Ball’s dividend payout ratio is currently 18.18%.

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Ball Profile

Ball Corp. provides metal packaging for beverages, foods and household products, and of aerospace and other technologies and services to commercial and governmental customers. It operates through the following business segments: Beverage Packaging, North and Central America; Beverage Packaging, South America; Beverage Packaging, Europe; Food and Aerosol Packaging; and Aerospace.

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Ball (NYSE:BLL)

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