Short Interest in Ball Co. (BLL) Rises By 14.9%

Ball Co. (NYSE:BLL) was the target of a large increase in short interest during the month of February. As of February 28th, there was short interest totalling 19,807,223 shares, an increase of 14.9% from the February 15th total of 17,239,307 shares. Based on an average daily volume of 2,725,216 shares, the short-interest ratio is currently 7.3 days. Currently, 15.0% of the company’s shares are short sold.

Several equities analysts recently issued reports on the company. Vertical Research raised Ball from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $44.00 target price on the stock in a research note on Friday, December 15th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. TheStreet lowered Ball from a “b-” rating to a “c+” rating in a research report on Thursday, December 14th. ValuEngine lowered Ball from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Monday, April 2nd. Zacks Investment Research lowered Ball from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Monday, January 29th. Finally, KeyCorp raised Ball from an “underweight” rating to a “sector weight” rating in a research report on Monday, February 12th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating and eight have given a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $45.62.

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In related news, COO James N. Peterson sold 4,384 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, February 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $38.90, for a total transaction of $170,537.60. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, VP Scott C. Morrison sold 2,591 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, January 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $38.62, for a total value of $100,064.42. Following the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 390,052 shares in the company, valued at approximately $15,063,808.24. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders sold 41,774 shares of company stock worth $1,642,983. Corporate insiders own 2.70% of the company’s stock.

A number of large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Tower Research Capital LLC TRC purchased a new position in shares of Ball in the 4th quarter valued at approximately $121,000. Calton & Associates Inc. purchased a new position in shares of Ball in the 4th quarter valued at approximately $125,000. Benjamin F. Edwards & Company Inc. grew its stake in shares of Ball by 63.0% in the 4th quarter. Benjamin F. Edwards & Company Inc. now owns 3,881 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $147,000 after purchasing an additional 1,500 shares during the last quarter. Dupont Capital Management Corp purchased a new position in shares of Ball in the 4th quarter valued at approximately $164,000. Finally, Dai Ichi Life Insurance Company Ltd purchased a new position in shares of Ball in the 3rd quarter valued at approximately $209,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 88.68% of the company’s stock.

Shares of BLL traded down $1.02 during mid-day trading on Friday, reaching $39.26. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 2,359,126 shares, compared to its average volume of 2,434,313. Ball has a 12-month low of $35.60 and a 12-month high of $43.24. The company has a market cap of $13,758.35, a P/E ratio of 19.25, a PEG ratio of 3.10 and a beta of 0.85. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.61, a quick ratio of 0.54 and a current ratio of 0.92.

Ball (NYSE:BLL) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, February 7th. The industrial products company reported $0.60 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.52 by $0.08. The firm had revenue of $2.75 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.64 billion. Ball had a return on equity of 19.24% and a net margin of 3.63%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 8.9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $0.44 EPS. analysts predict that Ball will post 2.3 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, March 15th. Investors of record on Thursday, March 1st were paid a dividend of $0.10 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, February 28th. This represents a $0.40 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.02%. Ball’s dividend payout ratio is presently 19.61%.

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Ball Company Profile

Ball Corporation supplies metal packaging products to the beverage, food, personal care, and household products industries. It operates in five segments: Beverage Packaging, North and Central America; Beverage Packaging, South America; Beverage Packaging, Europe; Food and Aerosol Packaging; and Aerospace.

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