Shares of Ball Co. (NYSE:BLL) have received an average recommendation of “Hold” from the seventeen research firms that are presently covering the company, Marketbeat reports. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell recommendation, seven have assigned a hold recommendation and eight have assigned a buy recommendation to the company. The average twelve-month target price among analysts that have issued a report on the stock in the last year is $54.93.
Several research firms recently commented on BLL. Citigroup cut their price target on Ball from $55.00 to $52.00 and set a “buy” rating on the stock in a research note on Monday, January 7th. Zacks Investment Research cut Ball from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Thursday, January 3rd. Morgan Stanley began coverage on Ball in a research note on Wednesday, January 16th. They issued an “overweight” rating and a $55.00 price target on the stock. BMO Capital Markets cut Ball from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and set a $58.10 price target on the stock. in a research note on Monday, April 8th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co boosted their price target on Ball from $56.00 to $60.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research note on Thursday, February 21st.
Shares of NYSE:BLL traded down $0.59 during trading on Friday, hitting $58.03. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 1,888,836 shares, compared to its average volume of 2,052,184. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.83, a quick ratio of 0.65 and a current ratio of 0.96. Ball has a fifty-two week low of $34.71 and a fifty-two week high of $58.95. The stock has a market cap of $19.59 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 26.38, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 4.08 and a beta of 0.83.
Ball (NYSE:BLL) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, January 31st. The industrial products company reported $0.55 EPS for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.56 by ($0.01). Ball had a return on equity of 20.08% and a net margin of 3.90%. The business had revenue of $2.80 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.68 billion. On average, equities research analysts predict that Ball will post 2.61 EPS for the current year.
The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, March 15th. Investors of record on Friday, March 1st were issued a $0.10 dividend. This represents a $0.40 annualized dividend and a yield of 0.69%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, February 28th. Ball’s dividend payout ratio is currently 18.18%.
Ball announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a stock buyback plan on Wednesday, January 23rd that permits the company to repurchase 50,000,000 shares. This repurchase authorization permits the industrial products company to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are usually an indication that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.
In related news, Chairman John A. Hayes sold 91,701 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, February 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $55.20, for a total value of $5,061,895.20. Following the completion of the sale, the chairman now directly owns 467,844 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $25,824,988.80. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, VP Nate C. Carey sold 1,900 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, March 11th. The shares were sold at an average price of $55.59, for a total value of $105,621.00. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now directly owns 16,336 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $908,118.24. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders sold 137,399 shares of company stock valued at $7,566,622. 1.80% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.
Institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. W.E. Donoghue & Co. LLC bought a new position in shares of Ball during the first quarter valued at approximately $2,782,000. Virtu Financial LLC bought a new position in shares of Ball during the first quarter valued at approximately $1,831,000. Mercer Global Advisors Inc. ADV bought a new position in shares of Ball during the first quarter valued at approximately $304,000. Calamos Advisors LLC grew its holdings in shares of Ball by 1.0% during the first quarter. Calamos Advisors LLC now owns 147,823 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $8,553,000 after purchasing an additional 1,483 shares during the last quarter. Finally, NuWave Investment Management LLC grew its holdings in shares of Ball by 417.3% during the first quarter. NuWave Investment Management LLC now owns 21,149 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $1,224,000 after purchasing an additional 17,061 shares during the last quarter. 87.21% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
Ball Corp. provides metal packaging for beverages, foods and household products, and of aerospace and other technologies and services to commercial and governmental customers. It operates through the following business segments: Beverage Packaging, North and Central America; Beverage Packaging, South America; Beverage Packaging, Europe; Food and Aerosol Packaging; and Aerospace.
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