Short Interest in TransAlta Co. (NYSE:TAC) Rises By 67.3%

TransAlta Co. (NYSE:TAC) (TSE:TA) was the recipient of a large growth in short interest in October. As of October 15th, there was short interest totalling 1,290,000 shares, a growth of 67.3% from the September 15th total of 771,300 shares. Currently, 0.5% of the shares of the stock are short sold. Based on an average trading volume of 132,300 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 9.8 days.

Several equities research analysts have weighed in on TAC shares. CIBC restated a “hold” rating and issued a $9.50 price objective on shares of TransAlta in a research report on Wednesday, October 23rd. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of TransAlta from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, October 22nd. Credit Suisse Group restated a “hold” rating and issued a $10.00 price objective on shares of TransAlta in a research report on Thursday, September 19th. Scotiabank set a $11.00 price objective on shares of TransAlta and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, September 18th. Finally, ValuEngine cut shares of TransAlta from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, October 2nd. Five analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. TransAlta presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $9.31.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its stake in shares of TransAlta by 2.8% in the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 7,817,116 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $50,889,000 after purchasing an additional 211,378 shares during the last quarter. Alberta Investment Management Corp bought a new position in TransAlta during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $747,000. Swiss National Bank boosted its stake in TransAlta by 2.2% during the 2nd quarter. Swiss National Bank now owns 533,100 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $3,468,000 after acquiring an additional 11,700 shares during the last quarter. Bank of Nova Scotia boosted its stake in TransAlta by 36.6% during the 2nd quarter. Bank of Nova Scotia now owns 653,678 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $3,557,000 after acquiring an additional 175,036 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada boosted its stake in TransAlta by 3.9% during the 2nd quarter. Royal Bank of Canada now owns 42,437,604 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $276,275,000 after acquiring an additional 1,586,525 shares during the last quarter. 49.05% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Shares of NYSE TAC opened at $5.89 on Tuesday. The firm has a market capitalization of $1.72 billion, a PE ratio of -11.11 and a beta of 1.17. The company has a current ratio of 1.74, a quick ratio of 1.36 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.98. TransAlta has a 1 year low of $3.99 and a 1 year high of $7.61. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $6.34 and its 200-day moving average is $6.45.

TransAlta (NYSE:TAC) (TSE:TA) last issued its earnings results on Friday, August 9th. The utilities provider reported ($0.02) earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of ($0.08) by $0.06. The company had revenue of $371.56 million for the quarter. TransAlta had a negative net margin of 9.91% and a negative return on equity of 6.16%. As a group, equities research analysts anticipate that TransAlta will post -0.16 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, January 1st. Stockholders of record on Monday, December 2nd will be paid a $0.03 dividend. This represents a $0.12 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.04%. The ex-dividend date is Friday, November 29th. TransAlta’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently -22.64%.

About TransAlta

TransAlta Corporation operates as non-regulated electricity generation and energy marketing company in Canada, the United States, and Western Australia. It operates through eight segments: Canadian Coal, U.S. Coal, Canadian Gas, Australian Gas, Wind and Solar, Hydro, Energy Marketing, and Corporate. The company generates and markets electricity through various generation fuels, such as coal, natural gas, water, solar, and wind.

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