Prudential Financial Inc (NYSE:PRU) was the recipient of a significant increase in short interest during the month of January. As of January 31st, there was short interest totalling 4,920,000 shares, an increase of 16.0% from the January 15th total of 4,240,000 shares. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 2,050,000 shares, the short-interest ratio is currently 2.4 days. Currently, 1.2% of the shares of the company are sold short.

A number of equities research analysts recently commented on the company. Royal Bank of Canada reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $110.00 target price on shares of Prudential Financial in a research report on Sunday, December 22nd. ValuEngine lowered Prudential Financial from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Thursday, February 6th. Wells Fargo & Co lowered Prudential Financial from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and set a $92.00 price objective on the stock. in a research report on Tuesday, November 5th. Citigroup lowered Prudential Financial from a “neutral” rating to a “sell” rating and lowered their price objective for the stock from $88.00 to $86.00 in a research report on Monday, November 25th. Finally, DOWLING & PARTN restated a “buy” rating on shares of Prudential Financial in a research report on Monday, November 18th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and four have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $97.33.

In related news, EVP Robert Falzon sold 39,748 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, February 11th. The stock was sold at an average price of $96.44, for a total value of $3,833,297.12. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 85,396 shares in the company, valued at $8,235,590.24. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, CEO Charles F. Lowrey sold 33,603 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, February 12th. The shares were sold at an average price of $96.32, for a total value of $3,236,640.96. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 95,189 shares in the company, valued at approximately $9,168,604.48. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.76% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Several large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. BlackRock Inc. lifted its position in shares of Prudential Financial by 6.2% during the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 31,395,669 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $3,170,962,000 after buying an additional 1,840,652 shares in the last quarter. Nippon Life Insurance Co. lifted its position in shares of Prudential Financial by 72.0% during the 3rd quarter. Nippon Life Insurance Co. now owns 4,401,995 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $395,959,000 after buying an additional 1,841,995 shares in the last quarter. Charles Schwab Investment Management Inc. lifted its position in shares of Prudential Financial by 2.0% during the 4th quarter. Charles Schwab Investment Management Inc. now owns 3,330,508 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $312,202,000 after buying an additional 65,732 shares in the last quarter. Acadian Asset Management LLC lifted its position in shares of Prudential Financial by 18.3% during the 4th quarter. Acadian Asset Management LLC now owns 1,807,649 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $169,447,000 after buying an additional 279,831 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. lifted its position in shares of Prudential Financial by 6.2% during the 4th quarter. Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. now owns 1,622,221 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $152,056,000 after buying an additional 94,530 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 62.01% of the company’s stock.

Prudential Financial stock traded down $1.09 during mid-day trading on Friday, hitting $94.48. The company had a trading volume of 1,195,688 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,887,067. The company has a current ratio of 0.10, a quick ratio of 0.11 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.29. Prudential Financial has a 12-month low of $77.65 and a 12-month high of $106.39. The company’s fifty day moving average is $94.12 and its 200-day moving average is $90.61. The company has a market capitalization of $38.15 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 9.33, a P/E/G ratio of 0.85 and a beta of 1.53.

Prudential Financial (NYSE:PRU) last released its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, February 4th. The financial services provider reported $2.33 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $2.02 by $0.31. Prudential Financial had a return on equity of 7.81% and a net margin of 7.20%. The business had revenue of $17.45 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $14.23 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $2.44 EPS. As a group, sell-side analysts expect that Prudential Financial will post 12.33 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, March 12th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, February 18th will be given a dividend of $1.10 per share. This is a positive change from Prudential Financial’s previous quarterly dividend of $1.00. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, February 14th. This represents a $4.40 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 4.66%. Prudential Financial’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 34.22%.

Prudential Financial Company Profile

Prudential Financial, Inc, through its subsidiaries, provides insurance, investment management, and other financial products and services. It operates through PGIM, U.S. Workplace Solutions, U.S. Individual Solutions, and International Insurance divisions. The PGIM division offers an array of asset management and advisory services related to public and private fixed income, public equity and real estate, commercial mortgage origination and servicing, and mutual funds and other retail services to institutional, private, and sub-advisory clients, as well as to insurance company separate accounts, government sponsored entities, and the general account.

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