Union Bankshares Corp trimmed its position in shares of Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS) by 8.6% in the 1st quarter, according to the company in its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund owned 35,042 shares of the company’s stock after selling 3,306 shares during the period. Union Bankshares Corp’s holdings in Novartis were worth $3,369,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Several other large investors have also recently modified their holdings of the company. BlackRock Inc. raised its stake in Novartis by 223.5% in the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 11,439,298 shares of the company’s stock worth $981,607,000 after buying an additional 7,902,964 shares in the last quarter. FMR LLC grew its holdings in Novartis by 441.6% in the fourth quarter. FMR LLC now owns 7,016,047 shares of the company’s stock worth $602,046,000 after purchasing an additional 5,720,650 shares during the period. Matthew Goff Investment Advisor LLC grew its holdings in Novartis by 7,454.1% in the third quarter. Matthew Goff Investment Advisor LLC now owns 2,945,178 shares of the company’s stock worth $38,988,000 after purchasing an additional 2,906,190 shares during the period. Bank of America Corp DE grew its holdings in Novartis by 25.1% in the fourth quarter. Bank of America Corp DE now owns 9,053,828 shares of the company’s stock worth $776,909,000 after purchasing an additional 1,817,005 shares during the period. Finally, Mawer Investment Management Ltd. grew its holdings in Novartis by 53.4% in the fourth quarter. Mawer Investment Management Ltd. now owns 4,764,486 shares of the company’s stock worth $408,841,000 after purchasing an additional 1,658,037 shares during the period. 11.68% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

A number of brokerages have weighed in on NVS. Morgan Stanley cut shares of Novartis from an “equal weight” rating to an “underweight” rating and upped their price objective for the stock from $82.50 to $82.52 in a report on Wednesday. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Novartis from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $96.00 price objective on the stock in a report on Tuesday, December 18th. Jefferies Financial Group restated a “buy” rating and issued a $105.00 price objective on shares of Novartis in a report on Tuesday, December 11th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. restated a “sell” rating on shares of Novartis in a report on Tuesday, January 29th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group cut shares of Novartis to a “sell” rating in a report on Thursday, December 20th. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have assigned a hold rating, seven have assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $89.25.

In other news, major shareholder Bioventures Ltd Novartis sold 43,800 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, March 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $1.92, for a total transaction of $84,096.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. In the last quarter, insiders have sold 642,738 shares of company stock worth $820,475. Corporate insiders own 0.01% of the company’s stock.

Shares of NYSE:NVS traded down $1.71 during trading on Wednesday, reaching $81.70. 178,175 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 2,141,645. Novartis AG has a 52-week low of $72.30 and a 52-week high of $96.31. The company has a quick ratio of 0.97, a current ratio of 1.20 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.29. The stock has a market cap of $192.68 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 16.06, a PEG ratio of 2.15 and a beta of 0.68.

Novartis (NYSE:NVS) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, January 30th. The company reported $1.24 EPS for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.33 by ($0.09). Novartis had a net margin of 24.30% and a return on equity of 15.66%. The firm had revenue of $13.27 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $13.33 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $1.21 EPS. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 2.7% compared to the same quarter last year. As a group, sell-side analysts anticipate that Novartis AG will post 5.34 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently declared an annual dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, March 13th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, March 5th were issued a dividend of $2.8646 per share. This is a boost from Novartis’s previous annual dividend of $2.33. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Monday, March 4th. This represents a dividend yield of 3.27%. Novartis’s dividend payout ratio is presently 36.15%.

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About Novartis

Novartis AG researches, develops, manufactures, and markets healthcare products worldwide. The company's Innovative Medicines segment offers patented prescription medicines for patients and healthcare providers. It also provides ophthalmology, neuroscience, immunology, hepatology and dermatology, respiratory, cardio-metabolic, and established medicine products.

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Novartis (NYSE:NVS)

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