Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) was the target of unusually large options trading activity on Monday. Traders acquired 920 put options on the stock. This is an increase of approximately 100% compared to the typical daily volume of 460 put options.

A number of equities research analysts have commented on the stock. Vetr lowered shares of Verizon Communications from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $52.47 price objective on the stock. in a report on Monday, February 27th. BTIG Research reissued a “neutral” rating on shares of Verizon Communications in a report on Monday, March 6th. SunTrust Banks, Inc. assumed coverage on shares of Verizon Communications in a report on Tuesday, April 18th. They set a “hold” rating and a $50.00 price objective on the stock. Moffett Nathanson raised shares of Verizon Communications from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and increased their price objective for the stock from $53.00 to $54.00 in a report on Tuesday, February 21st. Finally, Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Verizon Communications from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Tuesday, April 4th. Twenty-seven analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and five have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $53.54.

In other Verizon Communications news, EVP Marni M. Walden sold 16,362 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, May 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $46.08, for a total transaction of $753,960.96. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 11,797 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $543,605.76. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Craig L. Silliman sold 610 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, April 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $47.36, for a total transaction of $28,889.60. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 9,649 shares in the company, valued at approximately $456,976.64. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders have sold 18,192 shares of company stock worth $840,801. Insiders own 0.13% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of VZ. Concentric Wealth Management LLC purchased a new position in shares of Verizon Communications during the fourth quarter worth $1,752,000. Amtrust Financial Services Inc. bought a new stake in shares of Verizon Communications during the fourth quarter valued at about $1,095,000. Mcmillion Capital Management Inc. increased its stake in shares of Verizon Communications by 3.8% in the third quarter. Mcmillion Capital Management Inc. now owns 82,604 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $4,294,000 after buying an additional 3,048 shares during the period. AlphaOne Investment Services LLC increased its stake in shares of Verizon Communications by 1.8% in the fourth quarter. AlphaOne Investment Services LLC now owns 11,530 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $615,000 after buying an additional 200 shares during the period. Finally, Levin Capital Strategies L.P. increased its stake in shares of Verizon Communications by 1.0% in the fourth quarter. Levin Capital Strategies L.P. now owns 1,114,934 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $59,515,000 after buying an additional 11,525 shares during the period. 62.53% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Shares of Verizon Communications (VZ) traded down 0.39% during mid-day trading on Monday, reaching $46.45. 4,551,023 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. The company has a market cap of $189.49 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 15.54 and a beta of 0.56. Verizon Communications has a 12 month low of $44.46 and a 12 month high of $56.95. The company has a 50 day moving average of $46.05 and a 200 day moving average of $49.18.

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, April 20th. The cell phone carrier reported $0.95 earnings per share for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.98 by $0.03. Verizon Communications had a return on equity of 66.99% and a net margin of 9.92%. The firm had revenue of $29.81 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $30.41 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $1.06 earnings per share. Verizon Communications’s revenue for the quarter was down 7.3% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts expect that Verizon Communications will post $3.75 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, August 1st. Stockholders of record on Monday, July 10th will be given a dividend of $0.5775 per share. This represents a $2.31 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 4.97%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, July 6th. Verizon Communications’s payout ratio is 77.00%.

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Verizon Communications Company Profile

Verizon Communications Inc is a holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, provides communications, information and entertainment products and services to consumers, businesses and governmental agencies. Its segments include Wireless and Wireline. The Wireless segment offers communications products and services, including wireless voice and data services and equipment sales, to consumer, business and government customers across the United States.

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