Short Interest in Itau Unibanco Holding SA (ITUB) Rises By 69.4%

Itau Unibanco Holding SA (NYSE:ITUB) was the recipient of a large increase in short interest during the month of January. As of January 31st, there was short interest totalling 38,251,274 shares, an increase of 69.4% from the January 12th total of 22,582,565 shares. Based on an average daily volume of 14,670,290 shares, the short-interest ratio is currently 2.6 days. Approximately 1.2% of the shares of the company are short sold.

Several research analysts have recently issued reports on ITUB shares. BidaskClub cut shares of Itau Unibanco from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, October 23rd. ValuEngine cut shares of Itau Unibanco from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, October 27th. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Itau Unibanco from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Tuesday, November 7th. Finally, Deutsche Bank upgraded shares of Itau Unibanco from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $16.00 price objective for the company in a report on Monday, December 11th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have given a hold rating, one has issued a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $14.25.

Several institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of ITUB. Harding Loevner LP lifted its stake in Itau Unibanco by 225.1% during the third quarter. Harding Loevner LP now owns 193,057,699 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $774,895,000 after purchasing an additional 133,670,409 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. lifted its stake in Itau Unibanco by 2.9% during the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 43,741,482 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $568,639,000 after purchasing an additional 1,239,288 shares during the last quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. lifted its stake in Itau Unibanco by 1.9% during the third quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 32,923,292 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $444,464,000 after purchasing an additional 627,005 shares during the last quarter. Baillie Gifford & Co. lifted its stake in Itau Unibanco by 21.3% during the third quarter. Baillie Gifford & Co. now owns 28,091,190 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $384,849,000 after purchasing an additional 4,924,628 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Fisher Asset Management LLC lifted its stake in Itau Unibanco by 33.8% during the fourth quarter. Fisher Asset Management LLC now owns 25,914,919 shares of the bank’s stock valued at $336,894,000 after purchasing an additional 6,553,611 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 4.85% of the company’s stock.

Itau Unibanco (NYSE ITUB) opened at $15.47 on Monday. The company has a quick ratio of 1.66, a current ratio of 1.66 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.57. The stock has a market cap of $100,751.48, a P/E ratio of 13.45, a PEG ratio of 1.67 and a beta of 1.79. Itau Unibanco has a 1-year low of $10.02 and a 1-year high of $16.98.

The business also recently disclosed a monthly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, April 12th. Stockholders of record on Friday, March 2nd will be issued a $0.0046 dividend. This represents a $0.05 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.35%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, March 1st. Itau Unibanco’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 5.22%.

Itau Unibanco declared that its board has initiated a stock repurchase plan on Monday, December 18th that authorizes the company to repurchase 28,620,000 shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the bank to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are usually a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

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Itau Unibanco Company Profile

Itau Unibanco Holding SA is a holding company. The Company provides a range of financial products and services to individual and corporate clients in Brazil and abroad. The Company operates through three segments: Retail Banking, Wholesale Banking, and Activities with the Market + Corporation. The Retail Banking segment offers banking products and services to a diversified client base of account holders and non-account holders, individuals and companies.

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