U.S. Silica Sees Unusually High Options Volume (NYSE:SLCA)


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U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:SLCA) was the recipient of unusually large options trading activity on Tuesday. Stock investors bought 6,266 call options on the company. This is an increase of approximately 470% compared to the typical daily volume of 1,099 call options.

Several research firms recently commented on SLCA. Citigroup Inc. 3% Minimum Coupon Principal Protected Based Upon Russell raised shares of U.S. Silica from a “sell” rating to a “neutral” rating and increased their target price for the company from $2.50 to $7.00 in a report on Tuesday, December 15th. Smith Barney Citigroup raised shares of U.S. Silica from a “sell” rating to a “neutral” rating in a report on Tuesday, December 15th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of U.S. Silica from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $7.00 price target on the stock in a report on Monday, December 14th. B. Riley reissued a “buy” rating on shares of U.S. Silica in a report on Friday, October 30th. Finally, Evercore ISI raised shares of U.S. Silica from an “in-line” rating to an “outperform” rating in a report on Monday, January 4th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have issued a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the company. U.S. Silica presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $4.34.

Shares of NYSE:SLCA traded down $1.02 on Tuesday, hitting $10.07. The company had a trading volume of 71,677 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,248,838. The firm’s 50-day simple moving average is $9.17 and its two-hundred day simple moving average is $5.48. U.S. Silica has a 1 year low of $0.79 and a 1 year high of $12.07. The company has a quick ratio of 1.61, a current ratio of 2.09 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.00. The firm has a market capitalization of $744.68 million, a price-to-earnings ratio of -1.98 and a beta of 3.22.

In related news, insider James Derek Ussery sold 14,160 shares of the stock in a transaction on Wednesday, December 23rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $7.36, for a total transaction of $104,217.60. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, COO Michael L. Winkler sold 6,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, December 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $6.55, for a total transaction of $39,300.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 23,160 shares of company stock worth $163,708 in the last three months. Insiders own 1.90% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. BlackRock Inc. lifted its position in shares of U.S. Silica by 2.7% in the 4th quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 11,362,858 shares of the mining company’s stock worth $79,768,000 after purchasing an additional 300,662 shares during the period. Ariel Investments LLC lifted its position in shares of U.S. Silica by 2.1% in the 4th quarter. Ariel Investments LLC now owns 8,960,928 shares of the mining company’s stock worth $62,906,000 after purchasing an additional 186,469 shares during the period. Charles Schwab Investment Management Inc. lifted its position in shares of U.S. Silica by 6.5% in the 3rd quarter. Charles Schwab Investment Management Inc. now owns 1,379,607 shares of the mining company’s stock worth $4,139,000 after purchasing an additional 84,537 shares during the period. Morgan Stanley lifted its position in shares of U.S. Silica by 25.0% in the 3rd quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 1,301,113 shares of the mining company’s stock worth $3,904,000 after purchasing an additional 260,196 shares during the period. Finally, Assenagon Asset Management S.A. purchased a new stake in shares of U.S. Silica in the 4th quarter worth about $8,811,000. 75.67% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About U.S. Silica

U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc produces and sells commercial silica in the United States. The company operates through two segments, Oil & Gas Proppants and Industrial & Specialty Products. It offers whole grain commercial silica products to be used as fracturing sand in connection with oil and natural gas recovery, as well as sells its whole grain silica products in various size distributions, grain shapes, and chemical purity levels for manufacturing glass products.

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