Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management Co. Ltd. Increases Holdings in Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ)

Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management Co. Ltd. grew its holdings in Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) by 2.2% in the 1st quarter, HoldingsChannel reports. The institutional investor owned 913,073 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock after acquiring an additional 19,866 shares during the period. Verizon Communications accounts for approximately 0.8% of Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management Co. Ltd.’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 22nd biggest holding. Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management Co. Ltd.’s holdings in Verizon Communications were worth $49,059,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

A number of other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also added to or reduced their stakes in VZ. Grandfield & Dodd LLC grew its position in shares of Verizon Communications by 2.5% in the 4th quarter. Grandfield & Dodd LLC now owns 6,934 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock worth $426,000 after buying an additional 168 shares during the period. CFO4Life Group LLC boosted its stake in Verizon Communications by 2.3% during the fourth quarter. CFO4Life Group LLC now owns 7,655 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock worth $470,000 after acquiring an additional 173 shares in the last quarter. NorthCoast Asset Management LLC grew its holdings in Verizon Communications by 2.3% in the fourth quarter. NorthCoast Asset Management LLC now owns 7,717 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock worth $474,000 after purchasing an additional 174 shares during the period. Smith Capital Management Inc. AR ADV increased its stake in shares of Verizon Communications by 2.4% during the fourth quarter. Smith Capital Management Inc. AR ADV now owns 7,331 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $450,000 after purchasing an additional 175 shares in the last quarter. Finally, LeJeune Puetz Investment Counsel LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Verizon Communications by 0.6% during the first quarter. LeJeune Puetz Investment Counsel LLC now owns 27,850 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $1,496,000 after purchasing an additional 175 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 65.98% of the company’s stock.

Shares of NYSE VZ traded up $0.13 during mid-day trading on Friday, reaching $54.10. The company had a trading volume of 19,890,395 shares, compared to its average volume of 15,030,494. The stock has a market cap of $223.33 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 12.21, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.62 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. The business’s 50-day moving average is $56.54 and its 200-day moving average is $58.10. The company has a current ratio of 0.99, a quick ratio of 0.95 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.02.

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) last issued its earnings results on Friday, April 24th. The cell phone carrier reported $1.26 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.22 by $0.04. The business had revenue of $31.81 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $32.37 billion. Verizon Communications had a net margin of 14.00% and a return on equity of 33.26%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was down 1.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $1.20 EPS. As a group, equities research analysts forecast that Verizon Communications Inc. will post 4.77 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, May 1st. Investors of record on Monday, April 13th were paid a $0.615 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, April 9th. This represents a $2.46 annualized dividend and a yield of 4.55%. Verizon Communications’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 51.14%.

Verizon Communications declared that its Board of Directors has initiated a stock buyback program on Thursday, February 6th that allows the company to buyback 100,000,000 outstanding shares. This buyback authorization allows the cell phone carrier to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are generally an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

VZ has been the subject of a number of analyst reports. Morgan Stanley reduced their price objective on Verizon Communications from $61.00 to $60.00 and set an “equal weight” rating for the company in a research report on Friday, April 17th. ValuEngine downgraded Verizon Communications from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Friday, May 1st. JPMorgan Chase & Co. lowered their price target on Verizon Communications from $63.00 to $62.00 and set a “neutral” rating for the company in a research report on Friday, April 17th. Moffett Nathanson reissued a “hold” rating and set a $58.00 price objective on shares of Verizon Communications in a research report on Thursday, January 30th. Finally, Barclays reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $54.00 target price on shares of Verizon Communications in a report on Friday, April 17th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, sixteen have given a hold rating, six have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $61.44.

In other Verizon Communications news, SVP Anthony T. Skiadas sold 10,744 shares of Verizon Communications stock in a transaction on Friday, May 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $57.10, for a total transaction of $613,482.40. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 27,501 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,570,307.10. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. 0.07% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Verizon Communications Profile

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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