One of the standouts of today's evening trading session has been American Electric Power Company, which logged a -2.2% drop and underperformed the S&P 500 by -1.0%. The Electric Utilities stock is now trading at $80.32 per share and is -7.65% below its average target price of $86.97. Analysts have set target prices ranging from $74.5 to 99.0 dollars per share, and have given the stock an average rating of buy.
The market seems to share this rosy outlook, since American Electric Power Company has a short interest of only 1.4%. This represents the percentage of the share float that is being shorted, and each short position stands for an investor's expectation that the price of the stock will go down 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.
One way to get an idea of the market sentiment on a stock is to check its rate of institutional ownership. In the case of American Electric Power Company, institutional investors own 77.5% of the shares, which indicates they have a very high stake in the company. What does this really tell us?
Institutional investors such as hedge funds, investment firms, and wealth managers devote significant resources to identifying good investments. If they have decided to invest in AEP, it probably means they believe it is a solid investment choice.
But it could also mean they are buying up shares in an effort to acquire the company or to get seats on the board of directors. Also bear in mind that institutions are fallible (just maybe not quite as fallible as the average retail investor), so they may simply be wrong when they think they've found a good stock.
To sum up, American Electric Power Company is probably the subject of mixed market sentiment because of an analyst consensus of some upside potential, a buy 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 AEP:
The stock has trailing 12 month earnings per share (EPS) of $4.36
American Electric Power Company has a trailing 12 month Price to Earnings (P/E) ratio of 18.4 compared to the S&P 500 average of 15.97
The company has a Price to Book (P/B) ratio of 1.67 in contrast to the S&P 500's average ratio of 2.95
American Electric Power Company is a Utilities company, and the sector average P/E and P/B ratios are 17.53 and 1.71 respectively