Heritage Financial Corp (NASDAQ:HFWA) was the recipient of a large growth in short interest during the month of December. As of December 29th, there was short interest totalling 1,684,637 shares, a growth of 51.4% from the December 15th total of 1,112,591 shares. Approximately 5.8% of the shares of the stock are sold short. Based on an average daily volume of 125,451 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 13.4 days.

Several research analysts have weighed in on HFWA shares. ValuEngine upgraded Heritage Financial from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Sunday, December 31st. BidaskClub downgraded Heritage Financial from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, December 7th. DA Davidson boosted their price target on Heritage Financial from $35.00 to $36.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, November 7th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Heritage Financial from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $35.00 price target for the company in a report on Monday, October 30th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $33.00 price target on shares of Heritage Financial in a report on Tuesday, January 9th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and four have issued a buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $34.25.

In related news, CFO Donald Hinson sold 1,000 shares of Heritage Financial stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, November 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $31.22, for a total transaction of $31,220.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief financial officer now directly owns 33,288 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,039,251.36. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Director Anthony Pickering sold 11,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Monday, October 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $30.76, for a total value of $338,360.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 48,085 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,479,094.60. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 21,636 shares of company stock valued at $667,583 over the last 90 days. Insiders own 2.70% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP grew its stake in shares of Heritage Financial by 6.6% during the 3rd quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 1,725,844 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $50,913,000 after buying an additional 106,130 shares during the period. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company grew its stake in shares of Heritage Financial by 1.7% during the 2nd quarter. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company now owns 695,478 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $18,430,000 after buying an additional 11,574 shares during the period. Bank of New York Mellon Corp grew its stake in shares of Heritage Financial by 41.7% during the 3rd quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 656,280 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $19,360,000 after buying an additional 193,027 shares during the period. Schroder Investment Management Group grew its stake in shares of Heritage Financial by 0.3% during the 3rd quarter. Schroder Investment Management Group now owns 637,262 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $18,895,000 after buying an additional 2,050 shares during the period. Finally, State Street Corp grew its stake in shares of Heritage Financial by 5.0% during the 2nd quarter. State Street Corp now owns 571,333 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $15,144,000 after buying an additional 27,390 shares during the period. 78.13% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

Heritage Financial (HFWA) opened at $31.80 on Friday. The company has a quick ratio of 0.85, a current ratio of 0.85 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.27. The firm has a market capitalization of $951.75, a price-to-earnings ratio of 22.88, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.86 and a beta of 0.47. Heritage Financial has a twelve month low of $22.50 and a twelve month high of $33.25.

Heritage Financial (NASDAQ:HFWA) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 26th. The financial services provider reported $0.35 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.35. Heritage Financial had a net margin of 23.48% and a return on equity of 8.42%. The company had revenue of $43.39 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $42.85 million. equities research analysts anticipate that Heritage Financial will post 1.42 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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Heritage Financial Company Profile

Heritage Financial Corporation is a bank holding company. The Company is engaged in the business of planning, directing and coordinating the business activities of its bank subsidiary, Heritage Bank (the Bank). The Bank’s lending activities focus on commercial business lending. The Bank also originates consumer loans, real estate construction and land development loans, and one- to four-family residential loans.

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