Waste Management, Inc. (NYSE:WM) was the target of a large growth in short interest in February. As of February 28th, there was short interest totalling 6,454,842 shares, a growth of 35.9% from the February 15th total of 4,749,436 shares. Currently, 1.5% of the company’s stock are sold short. Based on an average trading volume of 2,639,648 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is currently 2.4 days.
In related news, Director Patrick W. Gross sold 387 shares of Waste Management stock in a transaction on Wednesday, January 17th. The shares were sold at an average price of $88.30, for a total transaction of $34,172.10. Following the transaction, the director now owns 30,673 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,708,425.90. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, CFO Devina A. Rankin sold 856 shares of Waste Management stock in a transaction on Friday, February 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $84.11, for a total transaction of $71,998.16. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 106,291 shares of company stock worth $9,154,833 in the last 90 days. Company insiders own 0.19% of the company’s stock.
A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of WM. Fjarde AP Fonden Fourth Swedish National Pension Fund lifted its holdings in Waste Management by 3.6% in the 3rd quarter. Fjarde AP Fonden Fourth Swedish National Pension Fund now owns 65,996 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $5,166,000 after buying an additional 2,324 shares in the last quarter. Advisors Asset Management Inc. raised its stake in shares of Waste Management by 10.6% in the 3rd quarter. Advisors Asset Management Inc. now owns 19,790 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $1,549,000 after purchasing an additional 1,889 shares in the last quarter. Commonwealth Equity Services Inc raised its stake in shares of Waste Management by 5.2% in the 3rd quarter. Commonwealth Equity Services Inc now owns 190,882 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $14,940,000 after purchasing an additional 9,472 shares in the last quarter. Sowell Financial Services LLC raised its stake in shares of Waste Management by 37.3% in the 3rd quarter. Sowell Financial Services LLC now owns 9,009 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $731,000 after purchasing an additional 2,448 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Manning & Napier Advisors LLC raised its stake in shares of Waste Management by 21.3% in the 3rd quarter. Manning & Napier Advisors LLC now owns 121,620 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $9,518,000 after purchasing an additional 21,354 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 76.76% of the company’s stock.
Waste Management (NYSE:WM) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, February 15th. The business services provider reported $0.85 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.83 by $0.02. Waste Management had a net margin of 13.45% and a return on equity of 25.48%. The firm had revenue of $3.65 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.57 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business posted $0.75 EPS. The firm’s revenue was up 5.5% compared to the same quarter last year. equities analysts expect that Waste Management will post 4.04 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
Waste Management declared that its Board of Directors has approved a share repurchase program on Thursday, December 14th that permits the company to repurchase $1.25 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization permits the business services provider to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are generally a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.
The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, March 23rd. Shareholders of record on Friday, March 9th will be issued a $0.465 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, March 8th. This represents a $1.86 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.15%. This is a positive change from Waste Management’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.43. Waste Management’s payout ratio is currently 32.18%.
Several equities analysts recently weighed in on WM shares. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Waste Management from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $96.00 target price on the stock in a report on Tuesday, December 26th. Stifel Nicolaus upgraded shares of Waste Management from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and lifted their target price for the company from $80.00 to $95.00 in a report on Monday, December 11th. Macquarie upgraded shares of Waste Management from a “neutral” rating to an “outperform” rating in a report on Wednesday, January 3rd. Raymond James Financial upgraded shares of Waste Management from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating and set a $95.00 target price on the stock in a report on Friday, February 16th. Finally, UBS upgraded shares of Waste Management from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating in a report on Friday, February 16th. One analyst has rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have issued a buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $90.44.
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About Waste Management
Waste Management, Inc (WM) is a holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, is a provider of waste management environmental services. The Company’s segments include Solid Waste and Other. The Company’s Solid Waste segment includes its solid waste business. The Other segment includes its Strategic Business Solutions (WMSBS) organization; its landfill gas-to-energy operations and third-party subcontract and administration services managed by its Energy and Environmental Services and WM Renewable Energy organizations; its recycling brokerage services, and its service offerings and solutions, such as portable self-storage and long distance moving services, fluorescent lamp recycling and interests it holds in oil and gas producing properties.
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