Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (NASDAQ:WBA) was the recipient of a significant increase in short interest in the month of July. As of July 31st, there was short interest totalling 12,659,677 shares, an increase of 20.4% from the July 14th total of 10,515,378 shares. Based on an average daily volume of 5,405,227 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 2.3 days. Approximately 1.4% of the shares of the company are sold short.

A number of equities research analysts have recently issued reports on the stock. BidaskClub raised shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Thursday, August 3rd. Credit Suisse Group reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $97.00 target price on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance in a research report on Thursday, July 13th. Leerink Swann set a $86.00 target price on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, July 7th. Citigroup Inc reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance in a research report on Monday, July 3rd. Finally, Needham & Company LLC assumed coverage on shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance in a research report on Tuesday, June 27th. They issued a “hold” rating for the company. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have issued a hold rating and fourteen have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Walgreens Boots Alliance has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $90.69.

In other news, Director William C. Foote sold 2,736 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, July 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $79.79, for a total value of $218,305.44. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 19,151 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,528,058.29. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Insiders own 13.50% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Edmond DE Rothschild Holding S.A. boosted its stake in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 3.6% in the second quarter. Edmond DE Rothschild Holding S.A. now owns 6,700 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $524,000 after buying an additional 235 shares during the last quarter. Richard C. Young & CO. LTD. boosted its stake in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 2.2% in the second quarter. Richard C. Young & CO. LTD. now owns 94,042 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $7,364,000 after buying an additional 1,981 shares during the last quarter. Bahl & Gaynor Inc. boosted its stake in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 1.7% in the second quarter. Bahl & Gaynor Inc. now owns 199,248 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $16,490,000 after buying an additional 3,383 shares during the last quarter. Nationwide Fund Advisors boosted its stake in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 27.7% in the second quarter. Nationwide Fund Advisors now owns 406,993 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $31,872,000 after buying an additional 88,390 shares during the last quarter. Finally, KCM Investment Advisors LLC boosted its stake in Walgreens Boots Alliance by 10.0% in the second quarter. KCM Investment Advisors LLC now owns 162,724 shares of the pharmacy operator’s stock valued at $12,743,000 after buying an additional 14,798 shares during the last quarter. 61.17% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) opened at 79.75 on Friday. The firm has a market cap of $85.34 billion, a P/E ratio of 20.14 and a beta of 1.25. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $78.96 and its 200 day moving average price is $82.30. Walgreens Boots Alliance has a 52 week low of $75.18 and a 52 week high of $89.69.

Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, June 29th. The pharmacy operator reported $1.33 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.30 by $0.03. Walgreens Boots Alliance had a return on equity of 17.34% and a net margin of 3.69%. The firm had revenue of $30.12 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $29.72 billion. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $1.18 EPS. The company’s revenue was up 2.1% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities analysts forecast that Walgreens Boots Alliance will post $5.01 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Walgreens Boots Alliance announced that its board has authorized a stock repurchase plan on Thursday, June 29th that allows the company to repurchase $5.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization allows the pharmacy operator to reacquire up to 5.9% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are often an indication that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, September 12th. Shareholders of record on Friday, August 18th will be issued a $0.40 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, August 16th. This represents a $1.60 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.01%. This is a boost from Walgreens Boots Alliance’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.38. Walgreens Boots Alliance’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 37.78%.

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Walgreens Boots Alliance Company Profile

Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc (Walgreens Boots Alliance) is a holding company. The Company is a global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise. Walgreens Boots Alliance operates through three divisions, including Retail Pharmacy USA, Retail Pharmacy International and Pharmaceutical Wholesale. The Company’s products are marketed under a number of brands, which include No7, the Botanics range, Almus (generic medicines), Boots Pharmaceuticals and Soap & Glory (bathing and beauty brand).

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