First Trust Advisors LP raised its position in shares of Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) by 7.8% in the third quarter, according to the company in its most recent filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The firm owned 5,199,518 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock after purchasing an additional 376,385 shares during the quarter. Verizon Communications accounts for approximately 0.6% of First Trust Advisors LP’s holdings, making the stock its 19th biggest position. First Trust Advisors LP owned about 0.13% of Verizon Communications worth $313,843,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Several other institutional investors have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Nuveen Asset Management LLC boosted its stake in Verizon Communications by 6,712.8% in the 2nd quarter. Nuveen Asset Management LLC now owns 29,602,386 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock worth $1,691,184,000 after purchasing an additional 29,167,876 shares during the period. Invesco Ltd. boosted its position in Verizon Communications by 61.6% during the second quarter. Invesco Ltd. now owns 23,240,898 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $1,327,750,000 after purchasing an additional 8,858,448 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. boosted its position in Verizon Communications by 1.7% during the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 317,036,667 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $18,112,307,000 after purchasing an additional 5,319,802 shares in the last quarter. Beutel Goodman & Co Ltd. raised its stake in shares of Verizon Communications by 95.6% in the second quarter. Beutel Goodman & Co Ltd. now owns 10,096,656 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock worth $443,674,000 after purchasing an additional 4,936,074 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Vanguard Group Inc. raised its stake in shares of Verizon Communications by 1.4% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 324,299,254 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock worth $18,527,217,000 after purchasing an additional 4,562,510 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 65.55% of the company’s stock.

Several research analysts recently weighed in on the company. ValuEngine upgraded Verizon Communications from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, October 24th. Moffett Nathanson set a $57.00 price target on Verizon Communications and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, October 25th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Verizon Communications from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $62.00 price target for the company in a research report on Monday, September 2nd. Citigroup set a $62.00 price target on Verizon Communications and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, September 10th. Finally, SunTrust Banks raised their price objective on Verizon Communications from $61.00 to $68.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, October 9th. Ten research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and six have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $62.69.

Shares of VZ stock traded down $1.18 on Friday, hitting $59.35. The stock had a trading volume of 17,644,595 shares, compared to its average volume of 13,203,746. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.99, a current ratio of 0.89 and a quick ratio of 0.85. The firm has a market capitalization of $246.08 billion, a P/E ratio of 12.60, a P/E/G ratio of 2.97 and a beta of 0.53. Verizon Communications Inc. has a 1 year low of $52.28 and a 1 year high of $61.58. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $60.22 and its 200-day moving average price is $58.01.

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Friday, October 25th. The cell phone carrier reported $1.25 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.24 by $0.01. Verizon Communications had a return on equity of 34.50% and a net margin of 12.26%. The firm had revenue of $32.89 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $32.74 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $1.22 EPS. The company’s quarterly revenue was up .9% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities analysts forecast that Verizon Communications Inc. will post 4.83 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, November 1st. Investors of record on Thursday, October 10th were paid a dividend of $0.615 per share. This represents a $2.46 annualized dividend and a yield of 4.14%. This is a boost from Verizon Communications’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.60. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, October 9th. Verizon Communications’s payout ratio is presently 52.23%.

In related news, EVP Craig L. Silliman sold 1,349 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, August 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $56.01, for a total value of $75,557.49. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 22,681 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,270,362.81. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, CEO Tami A. Erwin sold 17,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $57.75, for a total value of $981,750.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 853 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $49,260.75. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders have sold 21,047 shares of company stock valued at $1,219,943. Insiders own 0.03% of the company’s stock.

Verizon Communications Company Profile

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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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ)

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