Columbia Banking System, Inc. (NASDAQ:COLB) was the recipient of a significant increase in short interest during the month of November. As of November 30th, there was short interest totalling 2,190,106 shares, an increase of 54.8% from the November 15th total of 1,415,163 shares. Currently, 3.0% of the shares of the company are sold short. Based on an average daily volume of 322,981 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 6.8 days.

In related news, CAO Barry Ray sold 750 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, December 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $46.87, for a total transaction of $35,152.50. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief accounting officer now owns 11,250 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $527,287.50. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Company insiders own 1.23% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Eagle Asset Management Inc. grew its position in Columbia Banking System by 33.2% during the second quarter. Eagle Asset Management Inc. now owns 191,575 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $7,634,000 after buying an additional 47,708 shares during the period. BlueCrest Capital Management Ltd acquired a new stake in Columbia Banking System during the second quarter valued at $2,841,000. Vanguard Group Inc. grew its position in Columbia Banking System by 1.6% during the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 5,452,239 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $217,272,000 after buying an additional 88,252 shares during the period. AMG National Trust Bank grew its position in Columbia Banking System by 26.5% during the third quarter. AMG National Trust Bank now owns 26,267 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $1,106,000 after buying an additional 5,498 shares during the period. Finally, Scotia Capital Inc. grew its position in Columbia Banking System by 16.1% during the second quarter. Scotia Capital Inc. now owns 29,035 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $1,157,000 after buying an additional 4,017 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 76.61% of the company’s stock.

Shares of Columbia Banking System (COLB) opened at $43.39 on Friday. The company has a market cap of $2,570.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 20.27, a P/E/G ratio of 2.03 and a beta of 1.24. Columbia Banking System has a 52-week low of $35.67 and a 52-week high of $48.06.

Columbia Banking System (NASDAQ:COLB) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The financial services provider reported $0.70 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.52 by $0.18. The company had revenue of $126.00 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $119.16 million. Columbia Banking System had a net margin of 27.72% and a return on equity of 9.93%. The firm’s revenue was up 16.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $0.47 earnings per share. research analysts forecast that Columbia Banking System will post 2.2 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Several research analysts recently issued reports on COLB shares. DA Davidson reissued a “buy” rating and set a $48.00 target price (up previously from $45.00) on shares of Columbia Banking System in a report on Tuesday, October 17th. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Columbia Banking System from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, October 3rd. BidaskClub cut shares of Columbia Banking System from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada reissued a “hold” rating and set a $42.00 target price on shares of Columbia Banking System in a report on Friday, September 8th. Four analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $45.60.

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About Columbia Banking System

Columbia Banking System, Inc (Columbia) is a bank holding company for Columbia State Bank (the Bank) and Columbia Trust Company (Columbia Trust). The Company provides a range of banking services to small and medium-sized businesses, professionals and individuals. It offers products and services, which include Personal Banking, Business Banking and Wealth Management.

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