Sandy Spring Bancorp Inc. (NASDAQ:SASR) Sees Significant Increase in Short Interest

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Sandy Spring Bancorp Inc. (NASDAQ:SASR) was the target of a significant growth in short interest during the month of November. As of November 29th, there was short interest totalling 1,490,000 shares, a growth of 17.3% from the November 14th total of 1,270,000 shares. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 155,900 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 9.6 days. Approximately 4.3% of the shares of the company are sold short.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Coastal Investment Advisors Inc. raised its holdings in Sandy Spring Bancorp by 87.4% during the second quarter. Coastal Investment Advisors Inc. now owns 937 shares of the bank’s stock worth $32,000 after purchasing an additional 437 shares in the last quarter. Royal Bank of Canada raised its holdings in Sandy Spring Bancorp by 40.6% during the second quarter. Royal Bank of Canada now owns 1,125 shares of the bank’s stock worth $39,000 after purchasing an additional 325 shares in the last quarter. Steward Partners Investment Advisory LLC purchased a new position in Sandy Spring Bancorp during the second quarter worth about $44,000. Resources Investment Advisors LLC. purchased a new position in Sandy Spring Bancorp during the second quarter worth about $63,000. Finally, Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank raised its holdings in Sandy Spring Bancorp by 60.4% during the second quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank now owns 3,062 shares of the bank’s stock worth $107,000 after purchasing an additional 1,153 shares in the last quarter. 72.88% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

A number of equities research analysts have recently commented on the stock. Sandler O’Neill raised shares of Sandy Spring Bancorp from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $38.00 target price for the company in a report on Thursday, September 26th. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Sandy Spring Bancorp from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, October 24th. Finally, BidaskClub raised shares of Sandy Spring Bancorp from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Friday. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $37.06.

Shares of NASDAQ:SASR traded down $0.22 on Friday, reaching $36.18. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 99,083 shares, compared to its average volume of 133,582. The stock has a market capitalization of $1.28 billion, a P/E ratio of 11.46, a PEG ratio of 1.16 and a beta of 0.84. Sandy Spring Bancorp has a 52-week low of $29.83 and a 52-week high of $36.79. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $35.29 and its two-hundred day moving average is $34.48. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.49, a current ratio of 1.02 and a quick ratio of 1.00.

Sandy Spring Bancorp (NASDAQ:SASR) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 17th. The bank reported $0.82 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.80 by $0.02. The firm had revenue of $85.36 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $84.70 million. Sandy Spring Bancorp had a net margin of 27.41% and a return on equity of 10.11%. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.79 earnings per share. Equities analysts forecast that Sandy Spring Bancorp will post 3.26 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, November 20th. Investors of record on Wednesday, November 13th were issued a dividend of $0.30 per share. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, November 12th. This represents a $1.20 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.32%. Sandy Spring Bancorp’s dividend payout ratio is currently 41.96%.

About Sandy Spring Bancorp

Sandy Spring Bancorp, Inc operates as the bank holding company for Sandy Spring Bank that provides commercial banking services to individuals and businesses in central Maryland, Northern Virginia, and Washington DC The company operates in three segments: Community Banking, Insurance, and Investment Management.

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