Welch & Forbes LLC Grows Position in Ball Co. (NYSE:BLL)

Welch & Forbes LLC lifted its stake in Ball Co. (NYSE:BLL) by 97.3% during the 4th quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the SEC. The institutional investor owned 367,755 shares of the industrial products company’s stock after buying an additional 181,332 shares during the quarter. Welch & Forbes LLC owned approximately 0.11% of Ball worth $23,782,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Several other hedge funds also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Balyasny Asset Management LLC grew its holdings in shares of Ball by 16.0% in the 2nd quarter. Balyasny Asset Management LLC now owns 127,035 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $8,891,000 after acquiring an additional 17,543 shares during the last quarter. Cookson Peirce & Co. Inc. lifted its position in Ball by 5.2% during the third quarter. Cookson Peirce & Co. Inc. now owns 184,693 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $13,447,000 after buying an additional 9,205 shares during the period. Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. lifted its position in Ball by 46.5% during the second quarter. Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. now owns 18,114 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $1,267,000 after buying an additional 5,753 shares during the period. National Pension Service lifted its position in Ball by 5.4% during the third quarter. National Pension Service now owns 523,721 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $38,132,000 after buying an additional 26,715 shares during the period. Finally, Invesco Ltd. raised its holdings in shares of Ball by 32.5% in the 2nd quarter. Invesco Ltd. now owns 3,069,194 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $214,814,000 after purchasing an additional 752,801 shares during the period. 81.71% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

In other Ball news, VP Jeff A. Knobel sold 6,782 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, December 6th. The stock was sold at an average price of $63.38, for a total transaction of $429,843.16. Following the transaction, the vice president now owns 71,140 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $4,508,853.20. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, Chairman John A. Hayes sold 9,465 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, November 6th. The stock was sold at an average price of $66.48, for a total value of $629,233.20. Following the transaction, the chairman now directly owns 438,296 shares in the company, valued at approximately $29,137,918.08. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 56,600 shares of company stock worth $3,691,610 over the last three months. 1.80% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Shares of BLL stock traded up $0.18 during trading hours on Friday, hitting $69.36. The company had a trading volume of 33,524 shares, compared to its average volume of 2,204,475. The firm has a market capitalization of $21.77 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 31.52, a PEG ratio of 4.07 and a beta of 0.67. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.91, a quick ratio of 0.70 and a current ratio of 1.01. Ball Co. has a 12 month low of $48.53 and a 12 month high of $81.88. The firm’s fifty day moving average is $65.06 and its 200 day moving average is $70.76.

Ball (NYSE:BLL) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, October 31st. The industrial products company reported $0.70 EPS for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.72 by ($0.02). The business had revenue of $2.95 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.05 billion. Ball had a return on equity of 22.86% and a net margin of 4.82%. The firm’s revenue was up .2% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $0.56 earnings per share. On average, sell-side analysts expect that Ball Co. will post 2.5 EPS for the current fiscal year.

BLL has been the topic of several recent analyst reports. ValuEngine downgraded Ball from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 2nd. Morgan Stanley restated a “buy” rating and issued a $87.00 target price on shares of Ball in a report on Wednesday, November 6th. Vertical Research upgraded Ball from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, November 1st. Barclays initiated coverage on Ball in a report on Thursday. They set an “equal weight” rating and a $72.00 price target on the stock. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Ball in a research report on Friday, December 6th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and four have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Ball currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $77.39.

About Ball

Ball Corp. provides metal packaging for beverages, foods and household products, and of aerospace and other technologies and services to commercial and governmental customers. It operates through the following business segments: Beverage Packaging, North and Central America; Beverage Packaging, South America; Beverage Packaging, Europe; Food and Aerosol Packaging; and Aerospace.

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Ball (NYSE:BLL)

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