Lafayette Investments Inc. trimmed its holdings in Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) by 33.7% in the first quarter, according to the company in its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 4,813 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock after selling 2,451 shares during the period. Lafayette Investments Inc.’s holdings in Verizon Communications were worth $259,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Several other hedge funds also recently modified their holdings of the stock. Fiera Capital Corp lifted its position in Verizon Communications by 40.7% during the fourth quarter. Fiera Capital Corp now owns 6,916 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock worth $424,000 after purchasing an additional 2,001 shares during the period. Banque Cantonale Vaudoise bought a new stake in shares of Verizon Communications during the 4th quarter worth approximately $12,636,000. Benjamin Edwards Inc. boosted its position in shares of Verizon Communications by 7.2% during the 4th quarter. Benjamin Edwards Inc. now owns 3,480 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock worth $214,000 after acquiring an additional 234 shares in the last quarter. Essex Private Wealth Management LLC bought a new position in Verizon Communications in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $955,000. Finally, NS Partners Ltd raised its position in Verizon Communications by 11.0% during the fourth quarter. NS Partners Ltd now owns 142,127 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $8,727,000 after purchasing an additional 14,127 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 66.77% of the company’s stock.

VZ has been the topic of several recent analyst reports. ValuEngine lowered Verizon Communications from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Friday, May 1st. Citigroup lifted their target price on Verizon Communications from $55.00 to $60.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research report on Monday, April 27th. Barclays reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $54.00 target price on shares of Verizon Communications in a report on Friday, April 17th. Credit Suisse Group reduced their price target on shares of Verizon Communications from $65.00 to $61.00 and set a “neutral” rating on the stock in a research note on Monday, April 6th. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Verizon Communications in a research report on Monday, April 27th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, sixteen have assigned a hold rating, six have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $61.44.

Shares of NYSE:VZ opened at $54.71 on Friday. The firm has a market cap of $235.87 billion, a P/E ratio of 12.35, a P/E/G ratio of 3.82 and a beta of 0.48. Verizon Communications Inc. has a 12-month low of $48.84 and a 12-month high of $62.22. The business has a fifty day simple moving average of $56.24 and a 200 day simple moving average of $58.30. The company has a quick ratio of 0.95, a current ratio of 0.99 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.02.

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Friday, April 24th. The cell phone carrier reported $1.26 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.22 by $0.04. The company had revenue of $31.81 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $32.37 billion. Verizon Communications had a return on equity of 33.26% and a net margin of 14.00%. The firm’s revenue was down 1.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the company earned $1.20 earnings per share. As a group, equities research analysts expect that Verizon Communications Inc. will post 4.77 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, May 1st. Stockholders of record on Monday, April 13th were given a $0.615 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, April 9th. This represents a $2.46 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 4.50%. Verizon Communications’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 51.14%.

Verizon Communications announced that its board has approved a stock repurchase program on Thursday, February 6th that allows the company to buyback 100,000,000 shares. This buyback authorization allows the cell phone carrier to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are typically a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

In other news, SVP Anthony T. Skiadas sold 10,744 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, May 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $57.10, for a total transaction of $613,482.40. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 27,501 shares in the company, valued at $1,570,307.10. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Corporate insiders own 0.07% of the company’s stock.

Verizon Communications 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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