Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management Co. Ltd. Buys 19,866 Shares of Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ)

Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management Co. Ltd. lifted its stake in shares of Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) by 2.2% during the first quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The institutional investor owned 913,073 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock after purchasing an additional 19,866 shares during the quarter. Verizon Communications comprises 0.8% of Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management Co. Ltd.’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 22nd biggest holding. Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management Co. Ltd.’s holdings in Verizon Communications were worth $49,059,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Several other institutional investors and hedge funds have also recently modified their holdings of the company. Fiera Capital Corp lifted its holdings in shares of Verizon Communications by 40.7% in the 4th quarter. Fiera Capital Corp now owns 6,916 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock worth $424,000 after purchasing an additional 2,001 shares in the last quarter. Banque Cantonale Vaudoise acquired a new position in Verizon Communications during the fourth quarter worth $12,636,000. Benjamin Edwards Inc. raised its holdings in Verizon Communications by 7.2% during the fourth quarter. Benjamin Edwards Inc. now owns 3,480 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock worth $214,000 after buying an additional 234 shares during the last quarter. Essex Private Wealth Management LLC bought a new position in shares of Verizon Communications in the fourth quarter valued at $955,000. Finally, NS Partners Ltd grew its holdings in shares of Verizon Communications by 11.0% during the fourth quarter. NS Partners Ltd now owns 142,127 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $8,727,000 after buying an additional 14,127 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 65.98% of the company’s stock.

In related news, SVP Anthony T. Skiadas sold 10,744 shares of Verizon Communications stock in a transaction dated Friday, May 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $57.10, for a total value of $613,482.40. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now owns 27,501 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,570,307.10. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. 0.07% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Several equities analysts recently weighed in on the stock. JPMorgan Chase & Co. dropped their price target on shares of Verizon Communications from $63.00 to $62.00 and set a “neutral” rating on the stock in a research report on Friday, April 17th. Citigroup raised their target price on Verizon Communications from $55.00 to $60.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a report on Monday, April 27th. ValuEngine cut Verizon Communications from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Friday, May 1st. Cowen raised Verizon Communications from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating and set a $61.00 price target for the company in a research report on Monday, March 2nd. Finally, Oppenheimer initiated coverage on shares of Verizon Communications in a report on Friday, April 24th. They set a “buy” rating and a $70.00 price objective on the stock. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, sixteen have given a hold rating, six have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $61.44.

Shares of Verizon Communications stock traded up $0.13 on Friday, reaching $54.10. 19,890,395 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 15,030,494. The company has a 50 day moving average of $56.54 and a 200 day moving average of $58.10. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.02, a current ratio of 0.99 and a quick ratio of 0.95. Verizon Communications Inc. has a 52 week low of $48.84 and a 52 week high of $62.22. The firm has a market capitalization of $223.33 billion, a PE ratio of 12.21, a PEG ratio of 3.62 and a beta of 0.48.

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Friday, April 24th. The cell phone carrier reported $1.26 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.22 by $0.04. Verizon Communications had a return on equity of 33.26% and a net margin of 14.00%. The business had revenue of $31.81 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $32.37 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $1.20 earnings per share. Verizon Communications’s revenue for the quarter was down 1.0% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, analysts anticipate that Verizon Communications Inc. will post 4.77 earnings per share for the current year.

Verizon Communications declared that its board has approved a stock buyback program on Thursday, February 6th that allows the company to repurchase 100,000,000 shares. This repurchase authorization allows the cell phone carrier to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are often an indication that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, May 1st. Stockholders of record on Monday, April 13th were given a dividend of $0.615 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, April 9th. This represents a $2.46 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 4.55%. Verizon Communications’s dividend payout ratio is presently 51.14%.

Verizon Communications Profile

Verizon Communications Inc, through its subsidiaries, offers communications, information, and entertainment products and services to consumers, businesses, and governmental agencies worldwide. The company's Wireless segment provides wireless voice and data services; Internet access on various notebook computers and tablets; international travel wireless services; and network access services to deliver various Internet of Things products and services, as well as offers digital advertising and digital media services platforms.

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ)

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