Stock Traders Buy Large Volume of Western Gas Equity Partners Put Options (WGP)

Western Gas Equity Partners LP (NYSE:WGP) was the recipient of some unusual options trading on Tuesday. Stock traders purchased 611 put options on the company. This represents an increase of 902% compared to the average daily volume of 61 put options.

Shares of Western Gas Equity Partners (NYSE WGP) opened at $38.99 on Wednesday. The stock has a market capitalization of $8,566.85, a PE ratio of 22.67 and a beta of 1.45. The company has a current ratio of 0.91, a quick ratio of 0.91 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.84. Western Gas Equity Partners has a fifty-two week low of $33.92 and a fifty-two week high of $47.67.

Western Gas Equity Partners (NYSE:WGP) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, February 15th. The pipeline company reported $0.45 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.40 by $0.05. The company had revenue of $632.02 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $573.10 million. Western Gas Equity Partners had a return on equity of 9.36% and a net margin of 16.75%. Western Gas Equity Partners’s revenue for the quarter was up 23.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $0.38 EPS. sell-side analysts predict that Western Gas Equity Partners will post 2.06 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, February 22nd. Shareholders of record on Thursday, February 1st will be issued a dividend of $0.5488 per share. This represents a $2.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 5.63%. This is an increase from Western Gas Equity Partners’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.54. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, January 31st. Western Gas Equity Partners’s payout ratio is 127.33%.

WGP has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. Scotiabank reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $51.00 target price on shares of Western Gas Equity Partners in a report on Wednesday, October 25th. Morgan Stanley decreased their target price on Western Gas Equity Partners from $45.00 to $40.00 and set an “equal weight” rating for the company in a report on Thursday, November 2nd. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Western Gas Equity Partners from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $43.00 target price for the company in a report on Thursday, November 9th. UBS Group upgraded Western Gas Equity Partners from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $44.00 target price for the company in a report on Wednesday, January 3rd. Finally, Credit Suisse Group initiated coverage on Western Gas Equity Partners in a report on Thursday, January 4th. They issued an “outperform” rating and a $49.00 target price for the company. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating and eight have issued a buy rating to the company. The company has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $48.58.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the business. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company lifted its holdings in Western Gas Equity Partners by 7.4% during the 2nd quarter. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company now owns 6,598 shares of the pipeline company’s stock worth $284,000 after buying an additional 452 shares during the last quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System lifted its holdings in Western Gas Equity Partners by 1.5% during the 2nd quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 34,300 shares of the pipeline company’s stock worth $1,476,000 after buying an additional 500 shares during the last quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. lifted its holdings in Western Gas Equity Partners by 5.9% during the 2nd quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. now owns 9,844 shares of the pipeline company’s stock worth $423,000 after buying an additional 551 shares during the last quarter. Alps Advisors Inc. lifted its holdings in Western Gas Equity Partners by 5.2% during the 4th quarter. Alps Advisors Inc. now owns 28,901 shares of the pipeline company’s stock worth $1,074,000 after buying an additional 1,438 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Conning Inc. lifted its holdings in Western Gas Equity Partners by 2.9% during the 3rd quarter. Conning Inc. now owns 75,411 shares of the pipeline company’s stock worth $3,105,000 after buying an additional 2,092 shares during the last quarter. 18.21% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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Western Gas Equity Partners Company Profile

Western Gas Equity Partners, LP is a limited partnership. The Company is formed to own approximately three types of partnership interests in Western Gas Partners, LP (WES). WES is an master limited partnership (MLP) engaged in the business of gathering, compressing, treating, processing and transporting natural gas, and gathering, stabilizing and transporting condensate, natural gas liquids (NGLs) and crude oil.

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