Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) saw a significant growth in short interest in the month of March. As of March 29th, there was short interest totalling 38,658,321 shares, a growth of 20.1% from the March 15th total of 32,183,002 shares. Based on an average trading volume of 15,248,098 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 2.5 days. Approximately 0.9% of the shares of the company are short sold.

In other Verizon Communications news, EVP Craig L. Silliman sold 1,349 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, March 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $60.30, for a total transaction of $81,344.70. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 29,426 shares in the company, valued at $1,774,387.80. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, Director Lowell C. Mcadam sold 285,988 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, February 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $56.72, for a total transaction of $16,221,239.36. Following the sale, the director now owns 362,932 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $20,585,503.04. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 288,686 shares of company stock valued at $16,379,639 over the last 90 days. Corporate insiders own 0.03% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. WP Advisors LLC bought a new position in Verizon Communications during the first quarter worth about $25,000. Contravisory Investment Management Inc. bought a new position in Verizon Communications during the first quarter worth about $34,000. Next Capital Management LLC bought a new position in Verizon Communications during the fourth quarter worth about $35,000. Stone House Investment Management LLC bought a new position in Verizon Communications during the first quarter worth about $36,000. Finally, TD Capital Management LLC lifted its stake in Verizon Communications by 99.4% during the fourth quarter. TD Capital Management LLC now owns 720 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock worth $40,000 after purchasing an additional 359 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 66.90% of the company’s stock.

NYSE VZ opened at $58.71 on Tuesday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.94, a current ratio of 0.91 and a quick ratio of 0.88. Verizon Communications has a twelve month low of $46.08 and a twelve month high of $61.58. The stock has a market capitalization of $242.29 billion, a P/E ratio of 12.46, a P/E/G ratio of 2.62 and a beta of 0.51.

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, January 29th. The cell phone carrier reported $1.12 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.09 by $0.03. Verizon Communications had a net margin of 11.87% and a return on equity of 35.96%. The business had revenue of $34.28 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $34.45 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $0.86 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up 1.0% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, sell-side analysts anticipate that Verizon Communications will post 4.66 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, May 1st. Investors of record on Wednesday, April 10th will be paid a $0.6025 dividend. This represents a $2.41 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 4.10%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, April 9th. Verizon Communications’s payout ratio is presently 51.17%.

A number of research firms have issued reports on VZ. ValuEngine cut shares of Verizon Communications from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, January 29th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Verizon Communications from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $64.00 price target for the company in a report on Saturday, January 26th. Finally, Tigress Financial restated a “hold” rating on shares of Verizon Communications in a report on Friday, December 28th. Nine analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eight have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Verizon Communications has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $56.07.

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About Verizon Communications

Verizon Communications Inc, through its subsidiaries, offers communications, information, and entertainment products and services to consumers, businesses, and governmental agencies worldwide. The company's Wireless segment provides wireless voice and data services; Internet access on various notebook computers and tablets; international travel wireless services; and network access services to deliver various Internet of Things products and services, as well as offers digital advertising and digital media services platforms.

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