Short Interest in W. R. Grace & Co (NYSE:GRA) Increases By 15.2%

W. R. Grace & Co (NYSE:GRA) was the recipient of a significant increase in short interest during the month of January. As of January 31st, there was short interest totalling 926,100 shares, an increase of 15.2% from the January 15th total of 803,700 shares. Currently, 1.5% of the shares of the company are short sold. Based on an average trading volume of 356,200 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is currently 2.6 days.

Shares of GRA traded down $0.19 during trading hours on Friday, hitting $62.98. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 458,433 shares, compared to its average volume of 501,520. The company has a market cap of $4.21 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 33.32, a PEG ratio of 1.07 and a beta of 0.93. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 4.34, a current ratio of 1.49 and a quick ratio of 1.01. The business has a 50 day simple moving average of $67.85 and a two-hundred day simple moving average of $67.28. W. R. Grace & Co has a 52-week low of $60.35 and a 52-week high of $79.71.

W. R. Grace & Co (NYSE:GRA) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, February 4th. The specialty chemicals company reported $1.31 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.27 by $0.04. The company had revenue of $504.50 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $503.74 million. W. R. Grace & Co had a net margin of 6.45% and a return on equity of 73.47%. The company’s quarterly revenue was down 3.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $1.14 earnings per share. Research analysts predict that W. R. Grace & Co will post 4.8 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, March 17th. Investors of record on Tuesday, February 25th will be paid a $0.30 dividend. This represents a $1.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.91%. This is a positive change from W. R. Grace & Co’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.27. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, February 24th. W. R. Grace & Co’s payout ratio is currently 24.66%.

A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of GRA. Diamond Hill Capital Management Inc. grew its position in shares of W. R. Grace & Co by 122.0% in the fourth quarter. Diamond Hill Capital Management Inc. now owns 1,342,314 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $93,761,000 after purchasing an additional 737,664 shares in the last quarter. Tocqueville Asset Management L.P. boosted its stake in W. R. Grace & Co by 2.7% in the 4th quarter. Tocqueville Asset Management L.P. now owns 353,521 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock worth $24,693,000 after purchasing an additional 9,170 shares during the period. Russell Investments Group Ltd. boosted its stake in W. R. Grace & Co by 75.9% in the 4th quarter. Russell Investments Group Ltd. now owns 351,055 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock worth $24,497,000 after purchasing an additional 151,511 shares during the period. Loomis Sayles & Co. L P boosted its stake in W. R. Grace & Co by 3.5% in the 4th quarter. Loomis Sayles & Co. L P now owns 314,867 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock worth $21,993,000 after purchasing an additional 10,776 shares during the period. Finally, California Public Employees Retirement System grew its holdings in W. R. Grace & Co by 8.1% during the 4th quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 134,636 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $9,404,000 after buying an additional 10,058 shares in the last quarter. 85.70% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

A number of research analysts have recently weighed in on the stock. Loop Capital downgraded shares of W. R. Grace & Co from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and reduced their target price for the company from $89.00 to $69.00 in a research report on Thursday, February 6th. Credit Suisse Group lowered their price target on shares of W. R. Grace & Co from $86.00 to $83.00 and set an “outperform” rating on the stock in a report on Friday, October 25th. TheStreet cut shares of W. R. Grace & Co from a “b-” rating to a “c” rating in a report on Tuesday, February 4th. ValuEngine upgraded W. R. Grace & Co from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, January 3rd. Finally, Zacks Investment Research lowered W. R. Grace & Co from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Thursday, February 6th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have given a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the stock. W. R. Grace & Co has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $81.50.

W. R. Grace & Co Company Profile

W. R. Grace & Co produces and sells specialty chemicals and materials worldwide. It operates through two segments, Grace Catalysts Technologies and Grace Materials Technologies. The Grace Catalysts Technologies segment offers fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) catalysts for the production of transportation fuels, such as gasoline and diesel fuels, and petrochemicals; FCC additives; and methanol-to-olefins catalysts for the conversion of methanol into petrochemical feeds, including ethylene and propylene.

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