One of the standouts of today's afternoon trading session has been Verizon Communications, which logged a -2.4% drop and underperformed the S&P 500 by -1.0%. The Communication Equipment stock is now trading at $30.72 per share and is -22.83% below its average target price of $39.81. Analysts have set target prices ranging from $30.0 to 64.0 dollars per share, and have given the stock an average rating of hold.
It seems the market sentiment regarding Verizon Communications is mostly optimistic, since it has a short interest of only 0.9%. This is the percentage of the share float that is being shorted by investors who are hoping the stock's price will decrease in the future.
Short selling involves borrowing shares and then selling them at current market prices. In the successful version of the strategy, the shares are purchased at a lower price at some time in the future. The investor then returns the shares to the lender, and keeps the profit made on the sell/buy transaction.
Another way to gauge the sentiment on Verizon Communications is to look at the percentage of institutions that are invested in the stock. In this case, 63.9% of the shares are held by pension, mutual, and hedge funds, which shows that these institutions probably have strong confidence in the stock.
If institutions are invested in a particular stock, it shows in most cases that they have performed quality research and concluded that it is a good investment. In some cases, however, increases in institutional ownership could be a sign of a takeover attempt or proxy fight, which can actually injure share prices. Also, institutions are not infallible, and can certainly make miscalculations -- often with spectacular results.
To sum up, Verizon Communications is probably the subject of mixed market sentiment because of an analyst consensus of strong upside potential, a hold rating, a very low short interest, and an average number of institutional investors. At Market Inference, we believe that any investment decision should be preceded by an in-depth analysis of the company's fundamental values and a comparison with similar stocks.
Here's a snapshot of some important facts to keep in mind about VZ:
The stock has trailing 12 month earnings per share (EPS) of $5.0
Verizon Communications has a trailing 12 month Price to Earnings (P/E) ratio of 6.1 compared to the S&P 500 average of 15.97
The company has a Price to Book (P/B) ratio of 1.36 in contrast to the S&P 500's average ratio of 2.95
Verizon Communications is a Telecommunications company, and the sector average P/E and P/B ratios are 18.85 and 3.12 respectively