Greif, Inc. (NYSE:GEF) Short Interest Up 9.2% in December

Greif, Inc. (NYSE:GEF) saw a significant growth in short interest in December. As of December 31st, there was short interest totalling 1,900,000 shares, a growth of 9.2% from the December 15th total of 1,740,000 shares. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 170,200 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 11.2 days. Approximately 7.5% of the shares of the stock are short sold.

A number of brokerages recently issued reports on GEF. TheStreet upgraded Greif from a “c+” rating to a “b” rating in a research report on Monday, December 9th. Robert W. Baird raised their price target on Greif from $40.00 to $45.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research report on Friday, December 6th. ValuEngine upgraded Greif from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, December 30th. Wells Fargo & Co upgraded Greif from an “equal weight” rating to an “overweight” rating and raised their price target for the company from $46.00 to $52.00 in a research report on Tuesday. Finally, BMO Capital Markets raised their price target on Greif from $28.00 to $36.00 and gave the company an “underperform” rating in a research report on Thursday, December 12th. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have issued a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the company. The company has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $39.17.

In other Greif news, CFO Lawrence A. Hilsheimer acquired 3,863 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, December 16th. The shares were bought at an average price of $44.86 per share, for a total transaction of $173,294.18. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief financial officer now owns 104,445 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $4,685,402.70. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Company insiders own 13.56% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently made changes to their positions in GEF. First Trust Advisors LP grew its stake in shares of Greif by 60.3% during the first quarter. First Trust Advisors LP now owns 55,489 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $2,289,000 after buying an additional 20,881 shares during the last quarter. Smith Asset Management Group LP bought a new position in shares of Greif during the second quarter valued at about $371,000. Pacer Advisors Inc. grew its stake in shares of Greif by 3,506.4% during the second quarter. Pacer Advisors Inc. now owns 10,783 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $351,000 after buying an additional 10,484 shares during the last quarter. Commonwealth Bank of Australia grew its stake in shares of Greif by 57.8% during the second quarter. Commonwealth Bank of Australia now owns 7,100 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $231,000 after buying an additional 2,600 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Laurion Capital Management LP grew its stake in shares of Greif by 8.2% during the second quarter. Laurion Capital Management LP now owns 17,745 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $578,000 after buying an additional 1,349 shares during the last quarter. 46.07% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

NYSE GEF opened at $45.34 on Wednesday. The stock’s 50-day simple moving average is $43.99 and its two-hundred day simple moving average is $38.44. Greif has a twelve month low of $29.85 and a twelve month high of $50.37. The company has a quick ratio of 1.08, a current ratio of 1.51 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.23. The company has a market capitalization of $2.09 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.45, a PEG ratio of 1.44 and a beta of 1.43.

Greif (NYSE:GEF) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, December 4th. The industrial products company reported $1.24 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.11 by $0.13. Greif had a return on equity of 20.02% and a net margin of 3.72%. The business had revenue of $1.23 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.26 billion. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $3.53 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 24.7% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts expect that Greif will post 3.76 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, January 1st. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, December 18th were given a dividend of $0.44 per share. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, December 17th. This represents a $1.76 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.88%. Greif’s payout ratio is 44.44%.

Greif Company Profile

Greif, Inc produces and sells industrial packaging products and services worldwide. It operates through four segments: Rigid Industrial Packaging & Services; Paper Packaging & Services; Flexible Products & Services; and Land Management. The Rigid Industrial Packaging & Services segment offers rigid industrial packaging products, including steel, fiber, and plastic drums; rigid intermediate bulk containers; closure systems for industrial packaging products; transit protection products; water bottles, and remanufactured and reconditioned industrial containers; and services, such as container life cycle management, filling, logistics, warehousing, and other packaging services.

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