Cigna Investments Inc. New Buys 6,831 Shares of Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ)

Cigna Investments Inc. New lifted its stake in Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) by 5.9% in the 1st quarter, HoldingsChannel reports. The fund owned 121,899 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock after purchasing an additional 6,831 shares during the quarter. Verizon Communications comprises 0.8% of Cigna Investments Inc. New’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 18th largest position. Cigna Investments Inc. New’s holdings in Verizon Communications were worth $6,549,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Several other institutional investors and hedge funds also recently added to or reduced their stakes in VZ. Norges Bank acquired a new position in Verizon Communications during the 4th quarter valued at about $2,775,411,000. Parnassus Investments CA acquired a new position in Verizon Communications during the 4th quarter valued at about $728,007,000. Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. increased its position in Verizon Communications by 89.7% during the 4th quarter. Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. now owns 16,075,176 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $986,935,000 after buying an additional 7,601,512 shares in the last quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System increased its position in Verizon Communications by 21.5% during the 4th quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 20,570,713 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $1,263,042,000 after buying an additional 3,644,196 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Swiss National Bank increased its position in Verizon Communications by 22.0% during the 1st quarter. Swiss National Bank now owns 18,218,551 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $978,883,000 after buying an additional 3,290,700 shares in the last quarter. 65.98% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Several brokerages recently issued reports on VZ. Oppenheimer began coverage on Verizon Communications in a research report on Friday, April 24th. They set a “buy” rating and a $70.00 target price on the stock. Citigroup upped their target price on Verizon Communications from $55.00 to $60.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research report on Monday, April 27th. Morgan Stanley dropped their price target on Verizon Communications from $61.00 to $60.00 and set an “equal weight” rating on the stock in a research note on Friday, April 17th. SunTrust Banks boosted their price target on Verizon Communications from $60.00 to $65.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, April 28th. Finally, Raymond James boosted their price target on Verizon Communications from $58.00 to $61.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research note on Monday, April 27th. 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 issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $61.44.

In related news, SVP Anthony T. Skiadas sold 10,744 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, May 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $57.10, for a total value of $613,482.40. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 27,501 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,570,307.10. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Corporate insiders own 0.07% of the company’s stock.

Shares of 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 capitalization of $223.33 billion, a P/E ratio of 12.21, a PEG 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 company has a quick ratio of 0.95, a current ratio of 0.99 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.02. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $56.54 and a two-hundred day moving average of $58.10.

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

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

Verizon Communications declared that its board has authorized a share repurchase program on Thursday, February 6th that allows the company to repurchase 100,000,000 shares. This repurchase authorization allows the cell phone carrier to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are often a sign that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

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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