PPL Sees Unusually Large Options Volume (NYSE:PPL)

PPL Corp (NYSE:PPL) was the recipient of unusually large options trading activity on Tuesday. Investors bought 5,379 put options on the company. This represents an increase of approximately 1,863% compared to the typical volume of 274 put options.

NYSE:PPL traded up $0.34 on Friday, hitting $31.45. 3,104,624 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 4,599,178. The stock has a market capitalization of $22.49 billion, a PE ratio of 13.10 and a beta of 0.52. PPL has a 52 week low of $26.85 and a 52 week high of $32.88. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.73, a current ratio of 0.60 and a quick ratio of 0.53.

PPL (NYSE:PPL) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, May 2nd. The utilities provider reported $0.70 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.73 by ($0.03). PPL had a return on equity of 14.52% and a net margin of 23.79%. The firm had revenue of $2.08 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.19 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $0.74 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 2.2% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts anticipate that PPL will post 2.42 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, July 1st. Investors of record on Monday, June 10th will be paid a $0.4125 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, June 7th. This represents a $1.65 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 5.25%. PPL’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 68.75%.

PPL has been the subject of several recent analyst reports. Royal Bank of Canada lowered shares of PPL from an “outperform” rating to a “sector perform” rating and raised their price objective for the stock from $32.00 to $33.00 in a report on Friday, March 8th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. UBS Group lowered their price target on shares of PPL from $37.00 to $36.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a report on Friday, May 17th. Raymond James reissued an “average” rating on shares of PPL in a report on Monday, May 6th. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of PPL from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Thursday, March 14th. Finally, Mizuho began coverage on shares of PPL in a report on Monday, June 3rd. They set a “neutral” rating and a $30.00 target price for the company. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have given a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $33.90.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Norges Bank bought a new stake in shares of PPL during the 4th quarter worth approximately $152,444,000. BlackRock Inc. lifted its stake in PPL by 5.9% in the 4th quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 62,237,939 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $1,763,201,000 after purchasing an additional 3,475,992 shares during the last quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund lifted its stake in PPL by 2,749.2% in the 4th quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 2,161,551 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $76,000 after purchasing an additional 2,085,687 shares during the last quarter. Morgan Stanley increased its position in PPL by 96.7% in the 3rd quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 4,130,706 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $120,864,000 after acquiring an additional 2,030,363 shares during the period. Finally, MERIAN GLOBAL INVESTORS UK Ltd acquired a new position in PPL in the 4th quarter valued at approximately $43,537,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 72.91% of the company’s stock.

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PPL Company Profile

PPL Corporation, a utility holding company, delivers electricity and natural gas in the United States and the United Kingdom. The company operates through three segments: U.K. Regulated, Kentucky Regulated, and Pennsylvania Regulated. It serves approximately 414,000 electric and 328,000 natural gas customers in Louisville and adjacent areas in Kentucky; 527,000 electric customers in central, southeastern, and western Kentucky; and 28,000 electric customers in 5 counties in southwestern Virginia.

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