Traders Buy High Volume of Call Options on Moody’s (MCO)

Moody’s Co. (NYSE:MCO) saw some unusual options trading activity on Thursday. Traders bought 9,692 call options on the company. This represents an increase of 18,538% compared to the typical volume of 52 call options.

In related news, SVP Melanie Hughes sold 3,039 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, May 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $197.52, for a total transaction of $600,263.28. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 3,912 shares in the company, valued at approximately $772,698.24. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, insider Robert Fauber sold 460 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, May 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $184.85, for a total transaction of $85,031.00. Following the sale, the insider now owns 47,406 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $8,762,999.10. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 172,764 shares of company stock valued at $32,036,176 over the last quarter. 0.90% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Pearl River Capital LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Moody’s in the 4th quarter worth about $28,000. Cresset Asset Management LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Moody’s in the 1st quarter worth about $32,000. University of Texas Texas AM Investment Managment Co. purchased a new stake in shares of Moody’s in the 1st quarter worth about $36,000. Rockefeller Capital Management L.P. purchased a new stake in shares of Moody’s in the 1st quarter worth about $37,000. Finally, Resources Investment Advisors Inc. purchased a new stake in shares of Moody’s in the 1st quarter worth about $40,000. 93.51% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.



Moody’s stock traded down $2.33 during mid-day trading on Friday, reaching $186.94. 15,448 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 789,634. The company has a current ratio of 1.45, a quick ratio of 1.45 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 17.70. The company has a market cap of $35.39 billion, a P/E ratio of 25.30, a PEG ratio of 2.26 and a beta of 1.30. Moody’s has a 52-week low of $129.26 and a 52-week high of $197.73.

Moody’s (NYSE:MCO) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, April 24th. The business services provider reported $2.07 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.88 by $0.19. The business had revenue of $1.14 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.13 billion. Moody’s had a net margin of 29.38% and a return on equity of 281.55%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 1.4% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $2.02 EPS. Analysts predict that Moody’s will post 7.91 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, June 10th. Stockholders of record on Monday, May 20th will be given a $0.50 dividend. This represents a $2.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.07%. The ex-dividend date is Friday, May 17th. Moody’s’s dividend payout ratio is presently 27.06%.

A number of research firms recently commented on MCO. Cantor Fitzgerald upped their price target on shares of Moody’s from $168.00 to $192.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a report on Thursday, April 25th. Wells Fargo & Co upped their price target on shares of Moody’s from $170.00 to $195.00 and gave the company a “market perform” rating in a report on Thursday, April 25th. BMO Capital Markets upped their price target on shares of Moody’s from $189.00 to $194.00 and gave the company a “market perform” rating in a report on Thursday, April 25th. Piper Jaffray Companies boosted their price objective on shares of Moody’s from $178.00 to $205.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research report on Friday, April 5th. Finally, UBS Group boosted their price objective on shares of Moody’s from $170.00 to $198.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research report on Tuesday, April 9th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $183.00.

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About Moody’s

Moody's Corporation provides credit ratings; and credit, capital markets, and economic research, data, and analytical tools worldwide. It operates through two segments, Moody's Investors Service and Moody's Analytics. The Moody's Investors Service segment publishes credit ratings on various debt obligations and entities that issue such obligations, such as various corporate and governmental obligations, structured finance securities, and commercial paper programs.

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