Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Asset Management CO. LTD. Purchases 36,290 Shares of Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ)

Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Asset Management CO. LTD. grew its stake in Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) by 21.1% in the first quarter, according to the company in its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund owned 208,560 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock after acquiring an additional 36,290 shares during the period. Verizon Communications accounts for about 3.0% of Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Asset Management CO. LTD.’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 6th biggest position. Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Asset Management CO. LTD.’s holdings in Verizon Communications were worth $11,206,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Several other hedge funds and other institutional investors also recently made changes to their positions in VZ. State Street Corp raised its stake in shares of Verizon Communications by 0.9% during the fourth quarter. State Street Corp now owns 164,278,821 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock worth $10,086,720,000 after buying an additional 1,424,504 shares during the last quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC raised its position in shares of Verizon Communications by 4.3% in the fourth quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 62,486,079 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock valued at $3,829,119,000 after purchasing an additional 2,548,889 shares during the period. Capital World Investors increased its position in Verizon Communications by 1.7% during the fourth quarter. Capital World Investors now owns 51,341,129 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock worth $3,152,345,000 after acquiring an additional 833,751 shares during the period. Norges Bank bought a new position in Verizon Communications during the fourth quarter worth about $2,775,411,000. Finally, FMR LLC grew its stake in Verizon Communications by 4.0% during the fourth quarter. FMR LLC now owns 44,620,912 shares of the cell phone carrier’s stock worth $2,739,725,000 after buying an additional 1,704,351 shares in the last quarter. 65.98% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

A number of equities research analysts have issued reports on VZ shares. Oppenheimer initiated coverage on shares of Verizon Communications in a research note on Friday, April 24th. They set a “buy” rating and a $70.00 price objective on the stock. Moffett Nathanson restated a “hold” rating and set a $58.00 price target on shares of Verizon Communications in a report on Thursday, January 30th. Nomura Securities lowered their price objective on shares of Verizon Communications from $65.00 to $61.00 and set a “neutral” rating for the company in a research note on Monday, March 30th. Raymond James lifted their price target on shares of Verizon Communications from $58.00 to $61.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research report on Monday, April 27th. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada reaffirmed a “hold” rating on shares of Verizon Communications in a report on Monday, April 27th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, sixteen have assigned a hold rating, six have given a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $61.44.

Shares of VZ traded up $0.13 during midday trading on Friday, hitting $54.10. 19,890,395 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 15,030,494. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $56.54 and a 200-day moving average of $58.10. Verizon Communications Inc. has a one year low of $48.84 and a one year high of $62.22. The firm has a market cap of $223.33 billion, a P/E ratio of 12.21, a PEG ratio of 3.62 and a beta of 0.48. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.02, a current ratio of 0.99 and a quick ratio of 0.95.

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

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

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

In other news, SVP Anthony T. Skiadas sold 10,744 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated 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 transaction, the senior vice president now owns 27,501 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,570,307.10. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. 0.07% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

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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