Zacks Investment Research Downgrades Ball Corporation (BLL) to Sell

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Ball Corporation (NYSE:BLL) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report published on Monday, October 16th.

According to Zacks, “Ball Corporation expects earnings per share growth for 2017 to be lower than the guidance range of 20-30% due to issues in the EMEA segment’s food can business. The company anticipates the decline in food can business to persist due to timing issues with some customers. Further, one of the company’s large customers is experimenting with an alternative substrate which remains a concern for Ball Corporation’s volume. Tight supply and demand situation in its global aluminum aerosol business and elevated expenses remain headwinds. Further, the company’s third quarter is a seasonally slow quarter. Its estimates have gone down over the past three months. Moreover, the company has underperformed the Zacks categorized sub-industry year to date.”

BLL has been the subject of several other reports. Jefferies Group LLC restated a buy rating and set a $47.00 target price on shares of Ball Corporation in a research note on Sunday, June 25th. BidaskClub upgraded shares of Ball Corporation from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Tuesday, July 25th. Deutsche Bank AG reiterated a buy rating and set a $47.00 price target (up from $44.00) on shares of Ball Corporation in a report on Tuesday, July 18th. Robert W. Baird restated a buy rating and issued a $45.00 price objective on shares of Ball Corporation in a report on Thursday, October 12th. Finally, Royal Bank Of Canada started coverage on Ball Corporation in a report on Monday, October 9th. They issued an outperform rating and a $46.00 price objective for the company. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating and six have assigned a buy rating to the company. Ball Corporation has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $44.71.

Ball Corporation (BLL) traded up 0.09% on Monday, reaching $42.77. The company had a trading volume of 1,804,766 shares. The stock has a market capitalization of $15.05 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 60.67 and a beta of 0.97. The firm has a 50 day moving average price of $41.44 and a 200-day moving average price of $40.64. Ball Corporation has a 12 month low of $35.65 and a 12 month high of $43.12.

Ball Corporation (NYSE:BLL) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, August 3rd. The industrial products company reported $0.53 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.55 by ($0.02). Ball Corporation had a net margin of 1.70% and a return on equity of 17.63%. The company had revenue of $2.86 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.81 billion. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $1.05 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 40.6% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts forecast that Ball Corporation will post $2.03 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 15th. Stockholders of record on Friday, December 1st will be issued a dividend of $0.10 per share. This represents a $0.40 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 0.94%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, November 30th. Ball Corporation’s dividend payout ratio is currently 78.43%.

In other Ball Corporation news, SVP Lisa Ann Pauley sold 39,241 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, August 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $39.10, for a total value of $1,534,323.10. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 108,905 shares in the company, valued at $4,258,185.50. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, VP Scott C. Morrison sold 13,249 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, August 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $40.35, for a total transaction of $534,597.15. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now owns 392,091 shares in the company, valued at approximately $15,820,871.85. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 91,617 shares of company stock valued at $3,664,485 over the last ninety days. 2.70% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of BLL. Ameriprise Financial Inc. lifted its position in Ball Corporation by 6.9% during the first quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 64,511 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $4,790,000 after purchasing an additional 4,160 shares during the period. OppenheimerFunds Inc. lifted its position in Ball Corporation by 1.5% during the first quarter. OppenheimerFunds Inc. now owns 172,298 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $12,795,000 after purchasing an additional 2,539 shares during the period. Teachers Advisors LLC lifted its position in Ball Corporation by 4.7% during the first quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC now owns 225,455 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $16,742,000 after purchasing an additional 10,049 shares during the period. Fifth Third Bancorp lifted its position in Ball Corporation by 2.1% during the first quarter. Fifth Third Bancorp now owns 3,646 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $271,000 after purchasing an additional 75 shares during the period. Finally, MARSHALL WACE ASIA Ltd bought a new position in Ball Corporation during the first quarter valued at approximately $1,030,000. Institutional investors own 86.33% of the company’s stock.

About Ball Corporation

Ball Corporation is a supplier of metal packaging to the beverage, food, personal care and household products industries. The Company’s packaging products are produced for a range of end uses and are manufactured in facilities around the world. Its segments include beverage packaging, North and Central America; beverage packaging, South America; beverage packaging, Europe; food and aerosol packaging; aerospace, and other.

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