Webster Financial Co. (NYSE:WBS) Sees Significant Drop in Short Interest

Webster Financial Co. (NYSE:WBS) was the recipient of a large decline in short interest during the month of July. As of July 15th, there was short interest totalling 2,040,000 shares, a decline of 23.6% from the June 30th total of 2,670,000 shares. Based on an average daily volume of 826,900 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 2.5 days. Approximately 2.3% of the shares of the stock are short sold.

In other news, Director William L. Atwell bought 2,500 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, May 14th. The stock was bought at an average price of $20.16 per share, for a total transaction of $50,400.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 33,709 shares in the company, valued at approximately $679,573.44. The acquisition was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, CFO Glenn I. Macinnes bought 5,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, May 13th. The shares were purchased at an average price of $21.34 per share, with a total value of $106,700.00. Following the transaction, the chief financial officer now owns 115,502 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,464,812.68. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders own 1.46% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of WBS. Norges Bank acquired a new stake in shares of Webster Financial in the 4th quarter valued at about $45,369,000. Macquarie Group Ltd. grew its stake in shares of Webster Financial by 11.2% in the 4th quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 2,600,346 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $138,754,000 after buying an additional 262,063 shares during the period. Deutsche Bank AG boosted its stake in Webster Financial by 1,217.4% during the 1st quarter. Deutsche Bank AG now owns 258,578 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $5,921,000 after purchasing an additional 238,950 shares during the last quarter. Peregrine Capital Management LLC boosted its stake in Webster Financial by 88,411.4% during the 1st quarter. Peregrine Capital Management LLC now owns 193,840 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $4,439,000 after purchasing an additional 193,621 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Wasatch Advisors Inc. boosted its stake in Webster Financial by 8.8% during the 1st quarter. Wasatch Advisors Inc. now owns 2,327,258 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $53,294,000 after purchasing an additional 188,058 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 85.82% of the company’s stock.

NYSE WBS opened at $27.27 on Friday. The company has a quick ratio of 0.79, a current ratio of 0.79 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.36. Webster Financial has a twelve month low of $18.16 and a twelve month high of $54.04. The company has a market cap of $2.46 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 9.18 and a beta of 1.71. The business’s fifty day moving average is $27.30 and its 200 day moving average is $31.80.

Webster Financial (NYSE:WBS) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, July 23rd. The financial services provider reported $0.57 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.54 by $0.03. The business had revenue of $284.48 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $298.68 million. Webster Financial had a return on equity of 9.30% and a net margin of 20.01%. During the same period last year, the company earned $1.05 EPS. On average, research analysts anticipate that Webster Financial will post 2.36 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, August 19th. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, August 5th will be paid a $0.40 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, August 4th. This represents a $1.60 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 5.87%. Webster Financial’s dividend payout ratio is presently 39.31%.

A number of brokerages have weighed in on WBS. ValuEngine downgraded Webster Financial from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Friday, May 1st. Raymond James raised Webster Financial from a “market perform” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $34.00 target price on the stock in a report on Monday, April 6th. UBS Group raised their target price on Webster Financial from $22.50 to $23.50 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a report on Friday, May 15th. Royal Bank of Canada began coverage on Webster Financial in a report on Wednesday, June 24th. They issued an “outperform” rating and a $37.00 target price on the stock. Finally, Morgan Stanley raised their target price on Webster Financial from $32.00 to $34.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a report on Monday, June 8th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating, three have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $36.44.

About Webster Financial

Webster Financial Corporation operates as the holding company for Webster Bank, National Association that provides a range of banking, investment, and financial services to individuals, families, and businesses in the United States. It operates through three segments: Commercial Banking, HSA Bank, and Community Banking.

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