Commerce Bank Raises Stock Holdings in Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ)

Commerce Bank grew its stake in shares of Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) by 2.1% during the first quarter, according to the company in its most recent 13F filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 1,455,877 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock after buying an additional 30,294 shares during the period. Verizon Communications accounts for 0.9% of Commerce Bank’s portfolio, making the stock its 23rd biggest holding. Commerce Bank’s holdings in Verizon Communications were worth $78,224,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission.

Several other large investors also recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Fiera Capital Corp increased its stake in 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 buying an additional 2,001 shares in the last quarter. Banque Cantonale Vaudoise purchased a new stake in shares of Verizon Communications during the fourth quarter worth about $12,636,000. Benjamin Edwards Inc. raised its stake in Verizon Communications by 7.2% during the 4th quarter. Benjamin Edwards Inc. now owns 3,480 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $214,000 after purchasing an additional 234 shares during the period. Essex Private Wealth Management LLC purchased a new position in Verizon Communications in the 4th quarter worth approximately $955,000. Finally, NS Partners Ltd lifted its holdings in Verizon Communications by 11.0% in the 4th quarter. NS Partners Ltd now owns 142,127 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock worth $8,727,000 after purchasing an additional 14,127 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 65.98% of the company’s stock.

Several equities research analysts have recently issued reports on VZ shares. ValuEngine cut shares of Verizon Communications from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Friday, May 1st. Citigroup lifted their price target on shares of Verizon Communications from $55.00 to $60.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a report on Monday, April 27th. Oppenheimer assumed coverage on shares of Verizon Communications in a report on Friday, April 24th. They set a “buy” rating and a $70.00 price objective for the company. Goldman Sachs Group raised Verizon Communications from a “buy” rating to a “conviction-buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, April 1st. Finally, Nomura reissued a “hold” rating and set a $61.00 price target on shares of Verizon Communications in a research note on Sunday, April 26th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, sixteen have given a hold rating, six have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $61.44.

NYSE VZ traded down $0.07 on Friday, hitting $53.90. 1,718,149 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 14,904,664. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.02, a quick ratio of 0.95 and a current ratio of 0.99. The stock has a fifty day moving average price of $56.53 and a two-hundred day moving average price of $58.13. The firm has a market capitalization of $224.53 billion, a P/E ratio of 12.15, a P/E/G ratio of 3.64 and a beta of 0.48. Verizon Communications Inc. has a 52-week low of $48.84 and a 52-week high of $62.22.

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) last released its earnings results on Friday, April 24th. The cell phone carrier reported $1.26 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.22 by $0.04. The firm had revenue of $31.81 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $32.37 billion. Verizon Communications had a net margin of 14.00% and a return on equity of 33.26%. The business’s revenue was down 1.0% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $1.20 EPS. Sell-side analysts expect that Verizon Communications Inc. will post 4.77 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, May 1st. Shareholders of record on Monday, April 13th were paid a $0.615 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, April 9th. This represents a $2.46 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 4.56%. Verizon Communications’s payout ratio is 51.14%.

Verizon Communications declared that its Board of Directors has approved a stock repurchase plan on Thursday, February 6th that permits the company to buyback 100,000,000 outstanding shares. This buyback authorization permits the cell phone carrier to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are typically an indication that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

In other news, SVP Anthony T. Skiadas sold 10,744 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, May 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $57.10, for a total transaction of $613,482.40. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 27,501 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,570,307.10. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Company insiders own 0.07% of the company’s stock.

About Verizon Communications

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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