Short Interest in Ita� Unibanco (ITUB) Expands By 18.3%

Ita� Unibanco (NYSE:ITUB) was the recipient of a large increase in short interest during the month of March. As of March 29th, there was short interest totalling 20,686,377 shares, an increase of 18.3% from the March 15th total of 17,493,631 shares. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 9,320,676 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is currently 2.2 days. Currently, 0.6% of the company’s stock are sold short.

Several brokerages recently weighed in on ITUB. ValuEngine upgraded Ita� Unibanco from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research note on Friday, February 2nd. Zacks Investment Research downgraded Ita� Unibanco from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Wednesday, February 7th. Scotiabank downgraded Ita� Unibanco from a “sector perform” rating to an “underperform” rating in a research note on Wednesday, March 14th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group upgraded Ita� Unibanco from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday, March 5th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have given a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $15.17.

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Shares of ITUB stock opened at $14.59 on Tuesday. Ita� Unibanco has a 1-year low of $10.02 and a 1-year high of $16.98. The company has a current ratio of 1.64, a quick ratio of 1.66 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.54. The firm has a market cap of $96,062.33, a P/E ratio of 12.80, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.02 and a beta of 1.72.

Ita� Unibanco (NYSE:ITUB) last announced its earnings results on Monday, February 5th. The bank reported $0.26 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.29 by ($0.03). Ita� Unibanco had a return on equity of 16.87% and a net margin of 21.51%. The business had revenue of $7.79 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $8.49 billion. equities research analysts forecast that Ita� Unibanco will post 1.23 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Ita� Unibanco announced that its Board of Directors has approved a share buyback program on Monday, December 18th that permits the company to buyback 28,620,000 shares. This buyback authorization permits the bank to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are often an indication that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.

The company also recently declared a monthly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, May 14th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, April 3rd will be given a dividend of $0.0045 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, April 2nd. This represents a $0.05 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 0.37%. Ita� Unibanco’s dividend payout ratio is currently 4.39%.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of ITUB. Suntrust Banks Inc. acquired a new stake in Ita� Unibanco during the 4th quarter worth about $131,000. Lake Street Advisors Group LLC acquired a new stake in Ita� Unibanco during the 4th quarter worth about $151,000. Segall Bryant & Hamill LLC acquired a new stake in Ita� Unibanco during the 4th quarter worth about $242,000. Advisor Partners LLC lifted its position in Ita� Unibanco by 61.0% during the 4th quarter. Advisor Partners LLC now owns 16,500 shares of the bank’s stock worth $244,000 after acquiring an additional 6,253 shares during the period. Finally, KCS Wealth Advisory acquired a new stake in Ita� Unibanco during the 4th quarter worth about $257,000. 4.98% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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Ita� Unibanco Company Profile

Itaú Unibanco Holding SA provides a range of financial products and services to individuals and corporate clients in Brazil and internationally. The company operates in three segments: Retail Banking, Wholesale Banking, and Activities with the Market + Corporation. It accepts demand, savings, and time deposits; and offers payroll, mortgage, personal, vehicle, and corporate loans, as well as very small, small, and middle market loans.

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