Stock Traders Purchase High Volume of Put Options on Yum! Brands (YUM)

Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM) was the target of some unusual options trading on Thursday. Stock investors acquired 5,398 put options on the company. This represents an increase of 1,339% compared to the average daily volume of 375 put options.

A number of equities research analysts have recently issued reports on the company. Instinet lowered Yum! Brands from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research report on Tuesday, January 30th. Zacks Investment Research raised Yum! Brands from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $92.00 price target on the stock in a research report on Saturday, January 13th. Deutsche Bank upped their target price on Yum! Brands from $75.00 to $82.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, February 12th. Nomura lowered Yum! Brands from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $89.00 target price on the stock. in a research report on Tuesday, January 30th. Finally, ValuEngine raised Yum! Brands from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Monday, April 2nd. Fourteen investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, eleven have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $83.09.

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In other news, CEO Brian R. Niccol sold 2,294 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, January 22nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $84.90, for a total value of $194,760.60. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 10,160 shares in the company, valued at $862,584. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, CEO Brian R. Niccol sold 945 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, February 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $79.90, for a total value of $75,505.50. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 10,785 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $861,721.50. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 7.38% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of YUM. First Trust Advisors LP raised its stake in shares of Yum! Brands by 543.5% in the 3rd quarter. First Trust Advisors LP now owns 94,642 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $6,967,000 after purchasing an additional 79,934 shares during the period. Raymond James Financial Services Advisors Inc. raised its stake in shares of Yum! Brands by 13.4% in the 3rd quarter. Raymond James Financial Services Advisors Inc. now owns 125,052 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $9,205,000 after purchasing an additional 14,803 shares during the period. Jennison Associates LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Yum! Brands in the 3rd quarter valued at about $2,226,000. Sei Investments Co. raised its stake in shares of Yum! Brands by 43.0% in the 3rd quarter. Sei Investments Co. now owns 197,148 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $14,513,000 after purchasing an additional 59,263 shares during the period. Finally, New York State Common Retirement Fund raised its stake in shares of Yum! Brands by 6.2% in the 3rd quarter. New York State Common Retirement Fund now owns 1,208,851 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $88,984,000 after purchasing an additional 70,400 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 74.94% of the company’s stock.

YUM traded down $1.55 during mid-day trading on Friday, reaching $84.46. The stock had a trading volume of 1,891,611 shares, compared to its average volume of 2,068,159. Yum! Brands has a 52 week low of $63.54 and a 52 week high of $86.93. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of -1.49, a quick ratio of 1.65 and a current ratio of 1.66. The firm has a market capitalization of $28,084.05, a price-to-earnings ratio of 28.44, a PEG ratio of 2.03 and a beta of 0.85.

Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, February 8th. The restaurant operator reported $0.96 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.80 by $0.16. Yum! Brands had a negative return on equity of 17.27% and a net margin of 22.80%. The business had revenue of $1.58 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.59 billion. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.79 EPS. The firm’s revenue was down 16.4% on a year-over-year basis. research analysts forecast that Yum! Brands will post 3.27 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, March 9th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, February 14th were issued a dividend of $0.36 per share. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, February 13th. This is a positive change from Yum! Brands’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.30. This represents a $1.44 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.70%. Yum! Brands’s payout ratio is currently 48.65%.

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About Yum! Brands

YUM! Brands, Inc, together with its subsidiaries, develops, operates, and franchises quick service restaurants worldwide. It operates in three segments: the KFC Division, the Pizza Hut Division, and the Taco Bell Division. The company operates restaurants under the KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell brands, which specialize in chicken, pizza, and Mexican-style food categories.

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